BEIJING — China blasted plans to deepen U.S.-Philippines military ties, saying they revealed a "Cold War mentality."
The country's Defense Ministry also vowed to defend China from any infringement on its sovereignty late on Thursday as the U.S. wrapped-up joint war games with the Philippines involving 5,000 U.S. servicemen and 3,500 Philippine troops.
"Joint patrols between the United States and the Philippines in the South China Sea are pushing the militarization of the region," according to a statement posted on the Chinese Defense Ministry's website.
China has angered neighbors such as the Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam by claiming almost all of the South China Sea's energy-rich waters.
"The reinforcement of the U.S.-Philippine military alliance and the strengthening of front-line military deployments ... reflect Cold War mentality and will not benefit peace and stability in the South China Sea," the statement added.
Defense Secretary Ash Carter, who watched the military drills, said a robust U.S. military presence in the region was not the cause of heightened regional tensions.
"What's new is not an American carrier in this region," Carter said aboard the USS John C. Stennis where he met U.S. troops and observed flight operations. "What's new is the context of tension which exists which we want to reduce."