When the diplomatic emissaries of the Group of Seven nations met virtually late last month to prepare the ground for the leaders summit in June, one problem cropped up over and over again: What to do about China?

Over three days of video conferencing for their second so-called sherpa meeting, officials from the U.S., the U.K., Canada, Japan and their European partners discussed topics ranging from human rights and international development to trade and climate change, according to a diplomat’s account of the meeting. China was a factor in many of the conversations.

With Beijing viewed in different contexts as either partner, competitor or adversary — or some combination of these — one participant summarized the challenge as finding a common position over how to relate to the world’s second-biggest economy, the diplomat said. Another emphasized that establishing a shared perspective is important because competition with Beijing will shape geopolitics for generations to come.