China slammed the remarks of a top Pentagon officer on the South China Sea who had earlier said the US will increase freedom-of-navigation operations in the South China considering China's military buildup there.
Hong Lei, a Foreign Ministry spokesman of China on Friday also said the U.S. officials should stop playing up the situation.
"We have noticed that this official is busy making comments on the South China Sea -- sometimes in the U.S. Congress, and sometimes in the Defense Department -- which has given us the general impression that he intends to smear China's legitimate and reasonable actions in the South China Sea and sowing discord," said Lei, according to a Xinhua report.
"He is finding an excuse for U.S. maritime hegemony and muscle-flexing on the sea," Lei said.
Pentagon on Wednesday had said the US must continue to operate in the South China Sea to demonstrate that water space and the air above it is international, according to a Reuters report.
"We will be doing them more, and we'll be doing them with greater complexity in the future and ... we'll fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows," said Admiral Harry Harris, head of the U.S. Pacific Command.
According to China, its military facilities in the South China Sea are legal and appropriate.
China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with U.S. national security adviser Susan Rice on Wednesday and they discussed maritime issues, the White House said in a statement.
Rice emphasized strong U.S. support for freedom of navigation and urged China to address regional concerns.
According to Lei, Harris had also accused China of showing determination to achieve military primacy in the region, but what China has been doing in South China Sea is to deploy defense facilities on its territorial land in a reasonable and proper way, not "militarization."
"A fallacy remains a fallacy no matter how many times it is repeated, and the truth will ultimately be the truth," Hong said.