China has called on the US military to stop flexing its muscles in the South China Sea and avoid creating more uncertainty over the Taiwan issue amid renewed tension between the two major military powers.
Defense Minister Wei Feng He called on his US counterpart Mark Esper at defense talks in Bangkok on Monday to "stop flexing muscles in the South China Sea and refrain from provoking and escalating tensions," a defense ministry spokesman said.
The spokesman stressed that China will not condone any facts concerning Taiwan independence, and urged the United States to properly handle the issue.
The United States did not respond to the Chinese remarks, but accused China of militarization of the South China Sea.
The controversy comes after Taiwan's Defense Ministry said a Chinese aircraft carrier had crossed the Taiwan Strait on Sunday and was followed by US and Chinese ships. China has repeatedly made clear that it does not rule out the use of force to return Taiwan, which it regards as a breakaway province.
Taiwan's Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said Taiwan would not be intimidated.
In return, Xinhua quoted a Chinese navy spokesman as saying that the aircraft carrier that crossed the Taiwan Straits was engaged in "scientific research" and that its transit was not aimed at any target.