The United States has not yet entered the state of cold war with China, US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper told a New York-based think tank, Council on Foreign Relations, on Friday, ONA reports citing Fox News.
"I think it’s premature to call it a cold war," he said when asked whether the United States has entered the Cold War with China.
Commenting on the recent trade agreement with China, Esper said that trade was "an important component of our relationship with China."
"I think the more we can have those types of arrangements, the more we will have a healthy trade between the two countries," he said.
"I don’t want China to be an enemy. There’s no need for them to be an enemy. But we certainly have entered the era of great power competition, when we are competing with them," the defense secretary continued, adding that his country should build more bridges with China - "economically, diplomatically, even militarily."
"I think all those things are important to make sure that China heads in the right direction in the coming decades, that it becomes part of rules-based order and not a disruptor to it," he said.
In his opening remarks, Esper said Russia and China were now his department’s "top priorities."