US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has stepped up criticism of the ruling Chinese Communist Party, saying Beijing is focusing on international hegemony and must be tackled.
Pompeo said Thursday that the United States has always cherished its friendship with the Chinese people, adding that the communist government is not the Chinese people.
"They are looking for and using methods that create challenges for the United States and the world. We all need to face these challenges, face to face," he said at a dinner at the Hudson Research Institute in New York.
Pompeo added: "It is no longer reasonable to ignore the fundamental differences between our systems and the impact of these differences in the two systems on US national security."
The remarks came as the Trump administration said it still expected to sign next month the first phase of an agreement to end a bitter trade war with China, despite Chile's withdrawal on Wednesday from hosting the APEC trade summit, where officials were The Americans hope the agreement will be signed there.
Last week, US Vice President Mike Pence attacked China's record on "human rights, trade and Beijing's methods of expanding its global influence."