The White House says Washington is being patient as it seeks a "new approach" toward relations with China at a time when the two countries remain in serious "strategic competition."
"What we've seen over the last few years is that China's growing more authoritarian at home and more assertive abroad, and Beijing is now challenging our security, prosperity and values in significant ways that require a new U.S. approach," White House spokesperson Jen Psaki said Monday during a news briefing.
Hours earlier, Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke by video to the World Economic Forum where he urged countries to cooperate on climate change and public health — and also warned against conflict between Washington and Beijing without naming the United States. Xi said containing the coronavirus is the most pressing task for the international community.
Beijing's message comes as U.S. President Joseph Biden's foreign policy team prepares to rally allies to take on pressing challenges, ranging from preserving democracy to a growing rivalry with China and other authoritarian states.
"A divided world cannot tackle the common challenges facing humanity, and confrontation will lead humanity to a dead end," Xi said during a virtual address to the World Economic Forum.
Relations between the world's two leading economies are at their worst in decades as the nations clash over trade, 5G technology, human rights and regional security.
Washington accuses Beijing of a years-long effort to steal intellectual property and engage in industrial espionage. Biden's administration is reviewing plans to delist three Chinese telecommunication companies from the New York Stock Exchange.
Last Tuesday, outgoing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared the Chinese Communist Party has engaged in genocide against the Uighur Muslim population in Xinjiang. The policy determination could trigger new reviews and sanctions.
Later Monday, a State Department spokesperson told VOA that a comprehensive U.S. strategy will be holding China accountable for its unfair and illegal practices, and "making sure that American technologies aren't facilitating China's military buildup or human rights abuses."
"We need a comprehensive strategy and a more systematic approach that actually addresses the full range of these issues, rather than the piecemeal approach of the past few years," said the spokesperson.
'Spirit of no conflict'
A statement from the Chinese Embassy to the U.S. over the weekend said that the Beijing government hopes Washington can "uphold the spirit of no conflict, no confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation" to focus on cooperation and manage differences.
That call is likely to be greeted skeptically by the Biden administration, which is outspoken about how it views China's intentions.
"We're in a serious competition with China," Psaki said Monday. "China is engaged in conduct that hurts American workers, blunts our technological edge and threatens our alliances and our influence in international organizations."