The CNS Liaoning aircraft carrier leads a fleet during a People’s Liberation Army Navy training mission in the South China Sea in 2016. [Photo by Mo Xiaoliang/For China Daily]

China resolutely opposes the United States military intensifying surveillance and activities near China’s maritime and air space, which threatens peace and stability in the region, a Ministry of National Defense spokesman said on Thursday.

Since the current US administration took office on Jan 20, activities involving US naval vessels in China’s adjacent waters have increased by 20 percent compared to the same period last year, with the frequency of reconnaissance planes up over 40 percent, according to the spokesman, Senior Colonel Wu Qian.

On April 11, the US Navy posted a photo of Robert Briggs, the commander of the US destroyer USS Mustin, casually sitting back with his feet propped up as he and the ship’s executive officer, Richard Slye, monitored the Chinese aircraft carrier CNS Liaoning from a distance. Analysts have called the photo very unusual, and the picture went viral on Chinese social media.

Wu said the USS Mustin has frequently conducted close-up surveillance of recent training conducted by the CNS Liaoning aircraft carrier group in the South China Sea and the Taiwan Straits.

“This has seriously interfered with the training and has severely undermined the voyage and personnel safety of vessels from both sides,” he said. “This is very insidious in nature, and Chinese naval vessels have warned and dispelled the US warship.”

Wu said some people in the US government have become so paranoid that they manically hype up the so-called Chinese threat and Chinese challenge.

“This is a form of morbid psychopathy that will harm others and themselves, creating a self-fulfilling prophesy in the process,” he said. “China has no interest in threatening or challenging any country, but if someone insists on threatening and challenging China, then it leaves us no choice but to fight back.”

In response to US, Japan, India, Australia and France conducting joint naval exercises in the Bay of Bengal, some media reports have speculated that such exercises were targeting China. Wu said China doesn’t really care about such opinions.

“We hope related countries can do more to contribute to peace and stability in the area and refrain from ganging up as a clique to flex their muscles and push for the militarization of the region,” he said.

“If the exercises are not targeting China, we welcome the notion. But if they are, we are not afraid,” he added.

When asked about the different zones set up by Taiwan’s Democratic Progressive Party to deter military action from the Chinese mainland, Wu said such zones are invalid and cannot shake the military’s resolve and will to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity.

The DPP recently set up so-called surveillance zones, warning zones and destruction zones for mainland military aircraft operating in the Taiwan Straits. It also drew a “red line” that these aircraft cannot cross within 30 nautical miles off the island.

“The DPP’s attempt to use military force for secession is doomed to fail,” Wu said.