Ahead of Chinese President Xi Jinping's state visit to the United States, National Security Advisor Susan Rice outlined the two nation's areas of cooperation, while reiterating the need for China to curb its aggression in contested waters in the East and South China Seas.
"We call on all claimants to reciprocally halt land reclamation, construction of new facilitates, and militarisation of outposts on disputed areas," said Ms Rice speaking at George Washington University on Monday. "Instead, we urge China and ASEAN countries to conclude a Code of Conduct and set clear, predictable, binding rules of the road in the South China Sea."
Her remarks come a day before Mr Xi is expected in Seattle, where he will meet with technology and business leaders before heading to Washington, where he will be hosted by President Barack Obama.
Ms Rice also brought up the thorny issue of Cyber security, painting it as more than just a "mild irritation".
"It is an economic and national security concern to the United States. It puts enormous strain on our bilateral relationship, and it is a critical factor in determining the future trajectory of U.S.-China ties," she said.
She reminded China that it "cannot expect to wield influence selectively or lead only when it's convenient, opting in or out of international norms at will".
"Everyone has to play by the same rules, regardless of size or power, because that's the way everyone can compete and be treated equally," she said.
Ms Rice, also acknowledged that though critics have pointed out that the US should not host China at all, because of their outstanding differences.
However, she warned that this was a "dangerous and short-sighted view".
Advocating "determined and constant engagement", Ms Rice said.
"If America chose to remove itself from China, we would only ensure that the Chinese are not challenged on the issues where we differ and are not encouraged to peacefully rise within the international system that we have done so much to build."