China's state media Tuesday warned the United States to stop pursuing policies aimed at stemming Beijing's growing political clout as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was due to arrive later in the day.
Clinton is on a tour of the Asia-Pacific that comes amid rising tensions over territorial disputes involving China and some US allies in the region including Japan and the Philippines.
The official Xinhua news agency criticised Washington for its dealings with China, saying it had taken positions on the sea disputes detrimental to Beijing yet desired access to its markets and credit.
"The US politicians, who preposterously fancy they could do gold-digging in China and rein in China's rise simultaneously, should remember the old saying that no one can have his cake and eat it too," Xinhua said.
The English-language commentary went on to call for the US to "stop its role as a sneaky trouble maker sitting behind some nations in the region and pulling strings".
The criticisms were not seen in the Chinese-language press, suggesting they were meant to directly signal Beijing's unease with the US ahead of Clinton's visit.
China's emergence as the world's second-largest economy has also been accompanied by a more more assertive foreign and security policy.
That stance has caused anxiety in some Asian capitals, though China says it poses no threat and that what it calls its "peaceful rise" can be accommodated without conflict.
The United States, which has long had a strong military presence in the region, is winding down a decade of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan while reiterating its security commitment to Asia, a move China sees as threatening.
The Global Times, a newspaper under the Chinese Communist Party, said that the US was trying to "maintain its world hegemony", adding "checking China's rise is the wrong strategic goal for the US".
The China Daily newspaper, however, saw some hope from words spoken by Clinton over the weekend when she said "the Pacific is big enough for all of us" during a visit to the Cook Islands.
"Given both countries' willingness to accommodate a greater presence of the other in the region, the two do not have to face each other in a confrontational manner," the newspaper said in an editorial.
"The precondition, of course, is that they keep their words."