The US military sent a message to China in a major escalation of the military standoff between the world’s two largest economies.

The tweet by the US Navy’s Seventh Fleet said: “Your response to our tweet was to attack us.

We’re not going to play nice.”

The tweet came hours after US President Donald Trump said he would send a small fleet of Navy ships to waters off China’s east coast and said China was threatening the security of US allies in the region.US Pacific Fleet Admiral Samuel Locklear said in a tweet that the US had sent a destroyer and a submarine to the disputed waters and that it would be in the vicinity of “all of China’s territorial waters” in the South China Sea.

“We will be deploying to the area as soon as possible to provide the US Pacific Fleet with support,” Locklear wrote.

The US-China military confrontation comes at a time when the US and its allies are ramping up their military presence in the Asia-Pacific region, including in the disputed South China sea.

China says it is reclaiming a small, uninhabited island in the East China Sea from Japan after a Japanese naval exercise.

The latest flare-up between the two sides comes after China launched its own military drills near a disputed reef in the Sea of Japan on Saturday.

The South China Daily newspaper said the drills involved six ships of the People’s Liberation Army Navy, including the aircraft carrier Liaoning.

Chinese Defence Ministry spokesman Lu Kang told a daily briefing on Tuesday that “the PLA is ready to act militarily in the event of a war in the sea and the surrounding area.”

“The US is not in a position to take such a military action against China,” Lu said.

“There are no US military bases in the area.”

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