In a last-minute U-turn, US Vice-President Mike Pence will spend the night in Papua New Guinea, where he is attending a regional summit, changing plans to fly in and out of Australia, which had led to complaints of a lack of commitment.
"We have taken decisive action to address our imbalance with China", Mr. Pence declared.
"We hope for better, but the United States will not change course until China changes its ways", he said.
Reporting from the Papua New Guinean capital Port Moresby, Al Jazeera's Andrew Thomas said the Saturday speeches set a competitive rather than a cooperative tone for the summit.
President Trump was not at the summit, but will meet with Jinping in at the G-20 summit in Argentina that begins later this month, Reuters reported.
President Xi Jinping says that attempts to erect barriers and cut close economic ties "work against the laws of economics and the trends of history".
China has denied that USA companies are forced to transfer technology and sees US demands on rolling back its industrial policies as an attempt to contain China's economic rise.
Pence also took aim at China's construction of manmade islands in the Pacific and its "Belt and Road Initiative", which involves billions of dollars of infrastructure development in Asia, Europe and Africa.
Can the U.S. and China resolve their differences?
"It is the bilateral meetings, the sideline meetings that perhaps tell us more about what's going on here", Thomas said. "The Intellectual Property Rights regime is designed to protect and encourage innovation not to create or widen the scientific and technological divide", Xi said. He warned against confrontation in the form of a trade war or Cold War.
There have been concerns that small countries that sign up for infrastructure projects will be left with debt burdens they can not service, something Pence highlighted.
"Inevitably, in the period ahead, we will be navigating a higher degree of US-China strategic competition", Morrison said in a speech where he navigated a careful line between the alliance with the US and engaging a more assertive China. "The United States deals openly and fairly - and we don't offer a constricting belt or a one-way road".
"We believe that there exist no issues that countries can not resolve through consultation", said the Chinese leader, as long as negotiations take place in a spirit of "equality" and "mutual understanding". -China trade war while inviting other nations to participate in a revamped Trans-Pacific Partnership.