Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, Wu Qian, a spokesman for China’s defence ministry, criticised the US for disrupting a military drill. The USS Mustin, an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, has been shadowing a People’s Liberation Army (PLA) aircraft carrier group for nearly three weeks.

Mr Wu claimed the US vessel “severely disrupted” the aircraft carrier group led by the Liaoning.

He added that the destroyer’s “persistent close-range reconnaissance” threatened “the safety of vessels and crew.”

Mr Wu described the USS Mustin’s actions as “very vile in nature.”

PLA warships reportedly “warned and expelled” the USS Mustin when the ship got too close.

Mr Wu urged the US to “rein in its front-line forces” in order to avoid “similar dangerous incidents” in the future.

In response to the defence ministry’s statement, a US Navy official told Newsweek: “The US Navy maintains a persistent presence in the Indo-Pacific as it has for many years and regularly interacts with foreign vessels/aircraft.

“All interactions with our forces have been in accordance with international law and did not impact any ongoing operations.”

Mr Wu’s comments come as Taiwan’s foreign minister said China was “preparing for their final military assault”.

Minister Joseph Wu accused China of increasing their “grey zone” activities against Taiwan including misinformation campaigns and hybrid warfare.

He added: “This is our country, this is our people and this is our way of life. We will defend ourselves to the very end.”

Last month, President Joe Biden met with Japanese President, Yoshihide Suga, who said in a joint statement that they “underscore the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait” and “encourage the peaceful resolution of cross-strait issues.”

On April 11, the US Navy shared an image of naval officers on board the USS Mustin watching the Liaoning from a short distance.