President Biden warned that China will "eat our lunch" on Thursday after speaking with Chinese President Xi Jinping for the first time Wednesday night since becoming president – a sentiment that seemed to contradict some of his statements on the campaign trail.
"Last night I was on the phone with for two straight hours with Xi Jinping," Biden told reporters in the Oval Office. "It was a good conversation, I know him well, we spent a lot of time together over the years I was vice president, but if we don't get moving, they're going to eat our lunch. They have major, major new initiatives on rail, they already have rail that goes 325 miles per hour with ease. They are working very hard to do what I think we're gonna have to do."
"The auto industry is already there. So is labor. They're working very hard to try to move in a position where they end up being the source of a new way in which to power automobiles, which they're going to invest a lot of money. They're investing billions of dollars in dealing with a whole range of issues that relate to transportation and the environment ... so we just have to step up," Biden continued.
Biden's comments on Thursday seemed in direct opposition to his position in 2019.
"China is going to eat our lunch? Come on, man!" Biden said at a rally in 2019.
He was critical of former President Donald Trump's tariff battle with China.
"The president has done nothing but increase the tariffs, the debt and the trade deficit. The way we have to proceed is we have to have our allies with us. It’s not just us. We have to keep the world together," Biden said in 2019.
In a statement Wednesday night, the White House said Biden "shared his greetings and well wishes with the Chinese people on the occasion of Lunar New Year."
"President Biden affirmed his priorities of protecting the American people’s security, prosperity, health and way of life, and preserving a free and open Indo-Pacific," the White House said. "President Biden underscored his fundamental concerns about Beijing’s coercive and unfair economic practices, crackdown in Hong Kong, human rights abuses in Xinjiang, and increasingly assertive actions in the region, including toward Taiwan."
Fox News' Brooke Singman contributed to this report.