With U.S.-China relations on a dangerous downward spiral, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese used a keynote speech at Asia’s top regional security conference to call on the two superpowers to re-open high-level communication channels and establish guardrails to prevent the situation from veering into conflict.

“This isn't about a policy of containment. It's not a question of placing obstacles in the way of any nation's progress or their potential,” Albanese said in a keynote speech Friday to kick off this year’s Shangri-la Dialogue in Singapore.

“This is a matter of simple, practical structures to prevent a worst-case scenario,” he said, adding that the “essential precondition” for this is “dialogue.”