China: U.S. 'militarizing' South China Sea

China's Defence Ministry on Thursday accused the United States of "militarizing" the South China Sea by staging patrols and joint military drills there, ramping up the rhetoric ahead of a key regional security meeting in Malaysia next week.
China has repeatedly urged Washington not to take sides in the escalating maritime dispute over the area, where the Asian giant last year stepped up its creation of artificial islands, alarming neighbors and provoking U.S. criticism.
Washington has demanded they halt land reclamation and militarization of the disputed area and pursue a peaceful resolution according to international law.