PEKING (Reuters) – The US claim that China is militarising the South China Sea is "ridiculous," China said Thursday after US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said Washington's actions on the controversial waterways would continue to oppose.
Mattis said Tuesday that the United States would oppose China's so-called "South China Sea Islands" militarization, despite condemning Beijing for an operation in the region over the weekend.
"The United States The military presence in the South China Sea is greater than that of China and other countries surrounding the oceans," said Hua Chunying, spokeswoman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, at a regular briefing.
Hua also asked if the US Navy had "navigation freedom." The primary objective of the operations was to preserve the right for ships to sail around the region or to try to maintain supremacy.
"This sounds like a case of a thief who is crying" thieves, "she added.
The Global Times, a popular state-run Chinese tabloid that reflects no official policy, said in an editorial Thursday that China be prepared to respond to any "extreme" interference in the South China Sea by the United States.
"China should not only deploy defensive weapons on the Spratly Islands, but also build a strong deterrent system, including an air base and a naval force and base 
Reuters reported for the first time that two US Navy warships were near Islands of the South China Sea sailed claiming China Sunday, causing anger in Beijing that claimed the most strategically important waters in which Chinese, Japanese, and some Southeast Asian navies operate.
While Sunday's operation was scheduled for months, and While similar operations have become routine, it is a sensitive time and days after the Pentagon withdrew an invitation to China to attend a major US host
Pentagon officials have long complained that China was not sincere was enough because of its rapid military construction and the use of islands of the South China Sea to gather information.
Recent satellite images showed that China was apparently used on trucks ground-to-air missiles or anti-ship cruise missiles on Woody Island.
Earlier this month, China's Air Force landed as part of a bomber exercise on disputed islands and reefs in the South China Sea] Mattis is expected to have strong words for China as he travels to Singapore for the Shangri-la Dialogue later this week , a security forum.
(Report by Ben Blanchard and Christian Shepherd, edited by Darren Schüttler)