The United States has launched a wide-ranging attack on Chinese strategy, including its "massive" military build-up, in a 20-page White House report.
Amid a feud over the origin and handling of the coronavirus outbreak, the US has criticised China over its defence and economic strategy, as well as alleged disinformation campaigns and human rights violations.
The report accused China of carrying out "provocative and coercive military and paramilitary activities" in areas of Asia.
It added: "Beijing’s military build-up threatens United States and allied national security interests and poses complex challenges for global commerce and supply chains."
Shortly before the report was released, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said: “The media’s focus on the current pandemic risks missing the bigger picture of the challenge that’s presented by the Chinese Communist Party.
“China’s been ruled by a brutal, authoritarian regime, a communist regime since 1949."
"For several decades, we thought the regime would become more like us...that didn't happen.
“We greatly underestimated the degree to which Beijing is ideologically and politically hostile to free nations. The whole world is waking up to that fact.”
The US State Department later announced it had approved the sale of advanced military technology to Taiwan - considered a renegade province by China.
The US said the heavy-weight torpedo equipment, worth $180 million, will be sold to "help improve the security" of the island and help maintain "political stability, military balance, and economic progress in the region”.
The White House report also accused China of cyber hacking, stating the country's pledge to end predatory economic practices "is littered with broken and empty promises".
US President Donald Trump has routinely criticised China, especially over the coronavirus pandemic, but he has also urged Beijing to sign Phase II of a trade deal and join the US and Russia in a three-way nuclear arms control treaty.
On Wednesday, he wrote on Twitter accusing China of a "massive disinformation campaign" intended to help Joe Biden win the 2020 presidential election.
However, Mr Trump has also previously spoken about his great personal relationship with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
The latest report from the White House does not signal a shift in US policy, according to the anonymous official.
Cover image: PA.