The Navy's 7th Fleet said in a press release Friday that the USS John S. Stennis, a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier, as well as the guided-missile destroyers USS Chung-Hoon and USS Stockdale, the guided-missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay and the supply ship USNS Rainier had been operating in the eastern part of the South China Sea since Tuesday after passing through the Luzon Strait between the Philippines and Taiwan. US Pacific Fleet spokesman Clay Doss said that the group is carrying out a routine patrol and will appear in the South China Sea regularly. "In 2015 alone, Pacific Fleet ships sailed about 700 combined days in the South China Sea".

Meanwhile, the US Navy has sent an aircraft carrier battle group against China.

"China must not pursue militarization in the South China Sea", China said in a speech in San Francisco. "By developing these islands and reefs, we will help better protect China's own interests, make China better provide public services to this region and to uphold peace and stability in this region".

The United States was also protesting against China's land reclamation projects in the Spratly archipelago for military use and the recent deployment of surface-to-air missiles and fighter jets on the disputed Paracel Islands.

The Paracels, on the other hand, are largely a dispute between China and Vietnam. To underscore the warning, he flatly demanded: "China must not pursue militarisation in the South China Sea". "Specific actions will have specific consequences". Besides, he called for Washington's inclusion in a strategic dialogue, which has so far been held among in India, Japan and Australia.

"The strike group is exercising our right to operate in worldwide waters", said Rear Adm. Ron Boxall, commander, John C. Stennis Strike Group.

A Global Times editorial accused the U.S. of "inciting South China Sea claimants to stir up trouble in the region" and "destroying the peaceful and stable environment there".

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Chinese officials were quick to dismiss such claims.

"The accusation [that China is militarizing the region] can lead to a miscalculation of the situation", said Fu Ying, a spokeswoman for China's National People's Congress.

Recent satellite images show military installations on China's man-made islands in disputed waters of the South China Sea despite assurances from China's President Xi Jinping that it has no intention to militarize.

But it is the much closer South China Sea that matters most to Beijing. The Pentagon's AirSea Battle strategy envisages massive air and missile strikes on the Chinese mainland from warships, submarines and masses in the western Pacific, supplemented by an economic blockade cutting off China's vital imports of raw materials and energy.

Fu made these remarks when answering questions about China's construction of military facilities on the islands and reefs in the South China Sea, Xinhua news agency reported. However, it will still have the world's largest standing military in the world.

He was last deployed to the South China Sea in 2007.