An increasingly powerful China is challenging the world order, acting "more repressively" and "more aggressively" as it flexes its influence, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in an interview that aired Sunday.
"What we've witnessed over the last several years is China acting more repressively at home and more aggressively abroad. That is a fact," the top American diplomat said in an interview with CBS's "60 Minutes."
His comments came after President Joe Biden, in his first address to Congress on Wednesday, underscored that he was not seeking conflict with Beijing.
Biden said he told Chinese President Xi Jinping that in the competition to be the dominant power of the 21st century, "we welcome the competition -- and that we are not looking for conflict."
Blinken said China is "the one country in the world that has the military, economic, diplomatic capacity to undermine or challenge the rules-based order that we care so much about and are determined to defend.
"But I want to be very clear about something... our purpose is not to contain China, to hold it back, to keep it down; it is to uphold this rules-based order that China is posing a challenge to."
Tensions have risen sharply with China over the past few years as the United States also takes issue with Beijing's assertive military moves and human rights concerns, including what Washington has described as genocide against the mostly Muslim Uyghur minority.