U.S. President Joe Biden said Thursday that the Group of Seven major industrialized democracies should engage with China based on "shared principles."
Delivering a commencement speech to Air Force Academy graduates in Colorado, Biden said the United States is prepared for "vigorous competition" with China and will stand up for its interests, but Washington does not seek "conflict or confrontation" with Beijing.
He said the United States should work together with China where it can to tackle global challenges such as climate change, while noting that coordination among the G-7 will help to minimize threats to national security and boost resistance to so-called economic coercion from the Asian power.
"By working together with nations that share the most fundamental values, we multiply one another's strength," he said.
Biden's remarks come as the United States and China are still struggling to restore lines of communication after the relationship was severely strained over Taiwan and a spy balloon incident.
In mid-May, the G-7 leaders gathered in the Japanese city of Hiroshima and stated in a communique that they "stand prepared to build constructive and stable relations with China, recognizing the importance of engaging candidly."
They also said, "Our policy approaches are not designed to harm China nor do we seek to thwart China's economic progress and development. A growing China that plays by international rules would be of global interest."
Biden's remarks in the commencement address suggest his continued interest in reaching out to China before he is likely to become busier with his bid for re-election in 2024.
Most recently, however, China rejected U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin's request to meet one-on-one with his Chinese counterpart Li Shangfu during a three-day annual security forum starting Friday in Singapore.
China cut military-to-military communication channels with the United States after then House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan in August, becoming the most senior U.S. official to set foot on the democratic island in a quarter century.
In addition to friction over Taiwan, which China regards as part of its territory to be brought under its control by force if necessary, there were further tensions earlier this year after Washington detected what it described as a Chinese spy balloon traveling over sensitive areas of the continental United States.
The incident caused an abrupt postponement of U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken's planned visit to Beijing in early February.
Blinken's trip was intended as a follow-up to an in-person meeting between Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping in November. It would have been the first visit to China by a ministerial-level official from Washington since the Biden administration's inception in 2021.