Beijing and Washington are locked in a trade war and the two sides are trying to hammer out a deal ahead of a March 1 deadline when United States tariffs on US$200 billion (S$271 billion) worth of Chinese imports are scheduled to increase to 25 per cent from 10 per cent.
The same day the latest talks began, two USA warships sailed near islands claimed by China in the disputed South China Sea, a US official told Reuters.
Vietnam, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Indonesia and Taiwan have competing claims in the region.
The operation was carried out "in order to challenge excessive maritime claims and preserve access to the waterways as governed by global law", Cdr.
Communist superpower China claims ownership over nearly all of the South China Sea - frequently slamming the United States and its allies for naval operations in the territory.
Speaking at a meeting of the Atlantic Council in Washington last week, Admiral John Richardson, chief of US Naval Operation, called for firmer rules governing naval encounters in disputed waters such as the South China Sea. In January, the destroyer USS McCampbell sailed within 12 nautical miles of the Paracel Islands.
"Under such circumstances, the U.S. insistence on provocation, creating tensions and destroying the peace and stability of the South China Sea is unpopular", she said.
In late September, the USS Decatur also sailed within 12 nautical miles of Gaven and Johnson reefs in the Spratly Islands as part of a similar freedom of navigation operation.
It comes at a time of increasing tensions between the United States and China over an ongoing trade war.
The relevant action by the USA side infringed upon China's sovereignty, and undermined the peace, security, and order of the relevant waters, Hua said, adding that China will continue to take necessary measures to safeguard itself.
China and the USA have repeatedly traded barbs in the past over what Washington says is Beijing's militarisation of the South China Sea by building military installations on artificial islands and reefs. The United States has criticised China for militarising the islands by constructing long runways used by jet fighters and deploying anti-aircraft missiles.
China says the bases are essential for self-defense and accused the USA of ramping up tensions in the region by sending battleships and warplanes close to the disputed islands.