Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that the world "fundamentally expects" the two powers to work together on climate change, global health and possibly narcotics trafficking.
The United States said Monday that President Xi Jinping was leading China in a more "aggressive" direction but renewed eagerness to cooperate on shared interests as he prepares for a historic third term.
Xi on Sunday hailed his own response on Covid
and corruption as he launched a Communist Party Congress that is set to give him another five years at the helm of the billion-plus nation.
"We've seen a very different China emerge in recent years under Xi Jinping's leadership," Secretary of State Antony Blinken said.
"It is more repressive at home; it's more aggressive abroad. And in many instances that poses a challenge to our own interests as well as to our own values," he told a forum at Stanford University with former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice.
But Blinken said that the relationship between the world's two largest economies should not be reduced to a "bumper sticker."
He said that the world "fundamentally expects" the two powers to work together on climate change, global health and possibly narcotics trafficking.
"We know we're not going to be able to deal with climate as we should if China is not part of the picture," he said.
Beijing "just has to be responsive to demand signals that it's getting from countries around the world to be a positive actor, not a negative actor, on issues that concern them."
Global problems "are a lot harder to solve if the United States and China are not actually engaged," Blinken said.
Xi is widely expected to meet President Joe Biden
on the sidelines of a Group of 20 Summit next month in Bali, their first meeting since the two became their countries' top leaders.