U.S. President Joe Biden on Friday called on European and Asian partners to prepare together for what he views as a "long-term strategic competition with China," while warning that democracy is "under assault" from authoritarian regimes.
"How the United States, Europe, and Asia work together to secure the peace and defend our shared values and advance our prosperity across the Pacific will be among the most consequential efforts we undertake," Biden said at a virtual Munich Security Conference, his first speech aimed at an international audience since taking office on Jan. 20.
"Competition with China is going to be stiff," he added. "That's what I expect, and that's what I welcome, because I believe in the global system Europe and the United States, together with our allies in the Indo-Pacific, worked so hard to build over the last 70 years."
The speech underscored Biden's emphasis on multilateralism and values of alliances, which he believes have been undermined under his predecessor Donald Trump's four years of unilateralist "America First" mantra.
"America is back. The transatlantic alliance is back. And we are not looking backward; we are looking forward, together," he declared.
On China, he called for the need to "push back" against economic abuses and coercion that undercut the foundations of the international economic system.
Washington has been pushing for China to address U.S. concerns over intellectual property theft and forced technology transfer, among other issues.
"Everyone must play by the same rules," Biden said as he highlighted the importance of the need to shape the rules regarding technology where competition with China is increasing.
He also warned of the threat from Russia, criticizing that the Kremlin "attacks our democracies and weaponizes corruption to try to undermine our system of governance."
But Biden noted that "competition must not lock out cooperation" in dealing with global challenges, such as the coronavirus pandemic and climate change.
"It's not about we want a conflict," he said, adding the world must not return to what he calls reflexive opposition and rigid blocs of the Cold War.