A senior Chinese politician defended Beijing's right to build facilities on artificial islands in the South China Sea in comments that were seen as a veiled attack on the United States.
The remarks on Thursday by Wang Guoqing, spokesman for the country's top political advisory body, came after a US aircraft carrier group was sent to the disputed waters, and the PLA Navy staged combat exercises in the Western Pacific.
China and the US have waged a bitter war of words over maritime issues, with Washington accusing Beijing of militarising and obstructing freedom of navigation in the waters through its construction activities.
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But without naming any particular nation, Wang dismissed such criticism as "much ado about nothing".
"Though peace reigns over the land, the stupid people create trouble for themselves," Wang said before the opening of the annual session of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.