US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping are to hold their first summit talks online later on Monday, US time.
At issue will be whether the two leaders can develop mutual trust despite rising tensions by maintaining dialogue.
The two have talked by phone twice since Biden took office. They will be seeing each other face to face online for the first time.
A senior official in the Biden administration told reporters that against the backdrop of Xi's continued centralization of power, leader-level engagement is crucial in order to responsibly manage the competition between the two powers.
The official explained Biden's three main objectives for the talks.
The president wants to make clear Washington's wish to build common sense guardrails to avoid miscalculation or misunderstanding and ensure that competition does not lead to conflict.
Biden will discuss areas of divergence between the United States and China. He will express concerns about unfair economic behavior, including China's support of industry and its practice of economic coercion. He will also question China's human rights practices and what is seen as its coercive and provocative behavior with respect to Taiwan.
Thirdly, the president will express a willingness to work together on transnational issues, including climate change, where the interests of the US and China align.