BEIJING — China's state news agency accused the U.S. on Saturday of having a "pirate-style sense of insecurity" in response to recent comments from Washington expressing concern over Beijing's territorial claims in the disputed South China Sea.
The Xinhua News Agency took issue with remarks by U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki on Monday that Chinese land reclamation and construction work on disputed South China Sea islands were "fueling greater anxiety within the region about China's intentions."
Washington said it will continue to raise its concerns with China and urged all parties to avoid destabilizing activities.
"As we've said many times, we encourage all claimants to pursue peaceful and diplomatic approaches to maritime and territorial disputes in the South China Sea," Psaki told reporters at a daily briefing.
In its response, Xinhua labeled Psaki's comments "strikingly biased and by no means conducive to solving the disputes and bolstering peace and stability."
"The United States has once again violated its commitment to not holding (a) position or taking sides on the South China Sea issue, and its so-called concerns about China's 'threat' serve only to reveal its pirate-style sense of insecurity," said the commentary, signed by Xinhua reporter Zhang Ning
The language used exemplified the more caustic tone taken over recent months by the Communist Party controlled media in defending China's territorial claims and rejecting Western concepts of democracy and civil liberties. The commentary appeared only on Xinhua's English-language service directed at foreign audiences.
China says it has historical claims to a huge swath of the South Sea China that overlaps with the claims of several neighbors including Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and the Philippines, and constantly accuses the U.S. and its powerful navy of meddling in the dispute.
The U.S. says it takes no sides on the sovereignty issue, but has a national interest in ensuring the peaceful resolution of disputes and safety of navigation through the crucial shipping routes that crisscross the region.