China on Thursday criticized the United States for flying B-52 bombers in the vicinity of the South China Sea, and demanded that the US take steps to improve military relations amid heightened tensions between the two countries.
Defence ministry spokesman Ren Guoqiang told a monthly briefing that China is resolutely opposed to provocative US military actions in the South China Sea - where China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and the Philippines have rival claims.
Separately, Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang denied US President Donald Trump's accusation that Beijing is trying to influence the US congressional elections in November.
"We advise the United States to stop this unceasing criticism and slander of China," Geng said at a briefing in Beijing.
"Stop these wrong words and deeds that damage bilateral relations and the basic interests of both countries' peoples," Geng said.
The two countries, already engaged in an acrimonious trade war, continue to butt heads over a list of sensitive issues including the South China Sea and Taiwan.