America has denied that a planned build-up of warships in the Asia-Pacific region is some sort of threat towards China.
More than half of the US fleet is expected to be deployed to the area over the next eight years.
Defence Secretary Leon Panetta addressed the issue at a security conference in Singapore.
“Some view the increased emphasis by the United States in the Asia-Pacific region as some kind of challenge to China. I reject that view entirely,” Panetta said.
“Our effort to renew and intensify our involvement in Asia is fully compatible with the development and growth of China.”
Panetta’s visit to the region comes at a time of renewed tensions over competing sovereignty claims in the South China Sea – with Manila and Beijing in a standoff over the Scarborough Shoal.
The US recently completed naval exercises with the Philippines close to the disputed area.