A U.S. decision to fly B-52 bombers in the South China Sea came after U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis said China was engaging in "intimidation and coercion." File Photo by Erin Schaff/UPI | License Photo
June 6 (UPI) -- China is crying foul over a U.S. decision to fly two B-52 bombers near Scarborough Shoal this week.
In the latest sign of worsening relations between Washington and Beijing, the Chinese foreign ministry said the United States should not engage in "blatant lies" regarding its actions in the South China Sea.
"If the U.S. deployment of B-52 bombers and other strategic weapons to the South China Sea is not militarization, then what is it?" ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Wednesday during a regular press briefing. "Is the arrival of B-52 bombers for the freedom of navigation?"
South Korean news agency Yonhap reported Hua further criticized the United States, comparing the U.S. military flight to someone who "displays a show of force in front of your house."
"How can you not strengthen your defense capabilities?" Hua said.
U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis said this week at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore that China has deployed anti-ship and surface-to-air missiles on disputed South China Sea islands.
The flybys occurred after Mattis said China was engaging in "intimidation and coercion" in the South China Sea, Voice of America reported.
Hua said U.S. officials are "lying."
"The United States should not blatantly lie while fabricating military problems and must not look to create an issue of provocation in the South China Sea," Hua said.
Chinese state tabloid Global Times said in an article issued Wednesday the United States should stay away from the Taiwan Strait.
"China does not wish to engage in a dispute with the United States but a counterattack in response to a U.S. provocation is our basic idea and principle," the paper stated.