Beijing has said its disputes with Vietnam, the Philippines and other southeast Asian claimants should be settled one-on-one, and it has bristled at U.S. backing for a multilateral approach to solving the overlapping claims.

“We are entirely entitled to shout at the United States, ‘Shut up’. How can meddling by other countries be tolerated in matters that are within the scope of Chinese sovereignty?,” said a commentary in the overseas edition of the People’s Daily, an offshoot of the ruling Chinese Communist Party’s top newspaper.

The main, domestic edition of the newspaper was equally harsh, and accused Washington of seeking to open up divisions between China and its Asian neighbours.