Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang also said that Beijing is "happy" over the development of ties between India and America as long as they are conducive to regional peace. The two nations share goals of security, free navigation, free trade and fighting terrorism in the Indo-Pacific, and serve as "the eastern and western beacons" for an global rules-based order which is increasingly under strain, he said.
"The United States seeks constructive relations with China, but we will not shrink from China's challenges to the rules-based order and where China subverts the sovereignty of neighboring countries and disadvantages the USA and our friends", Tillerson told the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank.
Tillerson, who will visit India next week, described India as America's partner and said Washington can not have the same relationship with "non-democratic" Beijing as it has with New Delhi.
Kugelman said US policy toward India has been consistent for the last 15 years, but he noted that what makes the policy outlined by Tillerson a bit different is its explicit focus on China.
Ahead of President Donald Trump's upcoming visit to five Asian countries including China, the United States is all set to announce its first major policy on India.
A senior US Department of State official defended the timing of the speech, saying Tillerson also said he wanted a constructive relationship with China. He said that 1.2 million Americans visited India in 2016 and 4 million Indian Americans already live in the US.
"Between 2013 and 2016 Chinese companies have invested about USD 560 billion overseas, paid over USD 100 billion in various kind of taxes to the host countries and created millions of jobs for the local communities", Tuo Zhen, spokesman of 19th Congress of the CPC said, refuting reports that China has been bringing its own workers and not hiring locally to execute several infrastructure projects that China is funding under the more than USD 50 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Healthy relations between China and the United States are good for the people of both nations and are expected by the Asia-Pacific region, he added. Tillerson said that defense ties between the two countries are already on the rise and energy cooperation is also expanding.
And Tillerson laid out the administration's vision for strengthening the architecture that will ensure "this Indo Pacific free and open policy that we have, and how do we pin that in the proper places with our strongest, most important allies, how do we strengthen those in this multiparty arrangement". "The United States seeks constructive relations with China", said Tillerson.
The US secretary of state further said there is room to invite others, including Australia, to join the US-India-Japan security engagement.