US President Joe Biden has announced the formation of a new task force aimed at creating a "strong path forward on China-related matters".
Speaking at the Pentagon, Mr Biden said new US Secretary of Defense General Lloyd Austin will set up the new "China task force".
He added that it will operate across the Department of Defense and look at "strategy and operational concepts, technology, and force posture, and so much more".
"It will require a whole-of-government effort, bipartisan cooperation in Congress, and strong alliances and partnerships," Mr Biden added.
"That’s how we’ll meet the China challenge and ensure the American people win the competition of the future."
President Biden also said he "will never hesitate to use force to defend the vital interests" of the US, but added "force should be a tool of last resort, not first".
"The central, indispensable mission of the Department of Defense is to deter aggression from our enemies and, if required, to fight and win wars to keep America safe."
It comes after Mr Biden spoke to President Xi Jinping of China on preventing weapons proliferation, as well as countering the COVID-19 pandemic, the challenges of global health security and climate change.
Last month, a US Carrier Strike Group entered the South China Sea for "routine operations".
The Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group was deployed only days after Joe Biden was inaugurated as president, entering the disputed waterway alongside three warships.
China's Foreign Ministry said the US often sends ships and aircraft into the waterway and said it is not good for peace.
Earlier this week, Kathleen Hicks was confirmed as the next Deputy Defense Secretary, becoming the first woman to hold the position.
Cover image: US President Joe Biden speaking at the Pentagon (Picture: US Department of Defense).