BEIJING - China's Foreign Ministry expressed anger on Friday after the Pentagon's updated National Military Strategy slammed Chinese claims in the South China Sea as aggressive and "inconsistent with international law".
"China's actions are adding tension to the Asia-Pacific region," says the paper, released this week in the first update of the strategy since 2011, making specific reference to China's "aggressive land reclamation efforts" in the South China Sea.
China's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying called the report's assertions "irrational exaggerations".
"We express dissatisfaction and opposition towards the U.S. side's report's irrational exaggerations of China's threat. We have already clearly explained our stance on the issue of construction in islands and reefs in the South China Sea several times. We believe that the U.S. should abandon their Cold War mentality, and correctly regard and know China's strategic purpose, and meet each other halfway (on this issue)," Hua told media at a daily news conference in Beijing.
China claims most of the South China Sea, through which $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes every year. The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan also have overlapping claims.
China has become increasingly assertive in the South China Sea, building artificial islands in areas where the Philippines and other countries have rival claims, sparking alarm regionally and in Washington.