During his trip to Manila, O’Brien told the Philippines and Vietnam, both countries in disputes with Beijing cover the South China Sea: “We’ve got your back”. He also reiterated the US commitment to self-ruled Taiwan, aljazeera.com wrote.
China said his remarks were “unreasonable” and exaggerated regional tensions.
“We firmly oppose these remarks which are full of Cold War mentality and wantonly incite confrontation,” the Chinese Embassy in Manila said in a statement posted on its website.
“It shows that his visit to this region is not to promote regional peace and stability, but to create chaos in the region in order to seek selfish interests of the US.”
In addition, the Chinese Embassy accused the US of “provocative” behavior.
“Facts have proved that the US is the biggest driver of the militarization of the SCS and the most dangerous external factor endangering the peace and stability of the SCS,” it said in the statement in reference to the waterway.
China also hit out at O’Brien’s comments on Taiwan. O’Brien warned China it would face a “backlash” if it attempted to use military force to coerce the island.
The statement said Taiwan was an “internal” affair for China.
“There is only one China in the world,” it said. “Both Taiwan and Hong Kong are inalienable parts of China. This is an objective fact and a basic norm governing international relations.”
The US has repeatedly dispatched warships and warplanes near Chinese territorial waters in the strategic South China Sea to exercise what it claims is its “right” to “freedom of navigation” far from its own borders, according to Press TV.
Also in recent days, a senior US naval official, with responsibility for military intelligence in the Asia Pacific, paid a secret visit to Taiwan in an apparent last-ditch effort by the outgoing US President Donald Trump administration to further enhance ties with the self-ruled island.
China has constantly warned against any official exchanges between Washington and Taipei.
Under the “One China” policy, nearly all world countries — including the US — recognize Beijing’s sovereignty over Taiwan, but under the Trump administration, Washington has been courting Taiwan in an attempt to annoy Beijing.
In recent controversial remarks, hawkish US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo even refused to acknowledge Beijing’s sovereignty over Taiwan, saying that the island “has not been a part of China.”
China in response has warned Washington of “resolute counterattack” measures, if it kept undermining Beijing’s core interests.