All eyes have been on North Korea in the recent weeks – except for those of the Chinese, who are turning their heads westward to the United States.

Beijing expressed unease over the US’ “rebalancing” towards Asia, saying it has stirred up tensions in the region and led to the emergence of “multiple and complicated security threats” China now faces.

“There are some countries which are strengthening their Asia Pacific military alliances, expanding their military presence in the region and frequently make the situation there tenser,” China’s Ministry of Defense said in its annual white paper.

The thinly veiled contempt is a clear reference to US displays of force in the region and comes in response to Pyongyang’s threats, which have ratcheted up tensions on the Korean peninsula, reports Reuters.

But the US’ strategy has also emboldened Washington’s allies in the region, amid longstanding territorial disputes, the defense ministry said, adding that China needs to beef up its military.

“Hostile Western forces have intensified their strategy to westernize and split China, and employed every possible means to contain and control our country’s development,” the official People’s Liberation Army Daily said.

Tensions on the Korean peninsula have been running high since the US held joint military exercises with South Korea, angering the North which has accused its neighbor of being Washington’s “puppet”.