The United States military presence in the region is a tactic to use Taiwan to help contain China, a foreign affairs expert in Beijing has warned. 'The deteriorating cross-strait relation will benefit the US, as it does not want to see a strong and united China,' Xiong Zhiyong, associate professor and dean of academic research at the Foreign Affairs College said. 'A strong and united China will affect the US influence in the region. 'Beijing has made it clear that these are only military exercises and the US understands very well that there is no real military threat.' Professor Xiong urged the US to stop intervening and give time to Beijing and Taipei to resolve the Taiwan Strait crisis. A group of US battleships was stationed off the eastern coast of Taiwan yesterday, closely monitoring the Chinese military exercises. 'Such action by the US will only send the wrong signal to Taiwan,' Professor Xiong said. 'Taiwan officials and the general public may mis-perceive that Taiwan can really rely on US.' This perception would worsen the gap between mainland China and Taiwan, and would force Beijing into more drastic reactions, he said. Professor Xiong also said that it had been a provocative action for the international relations committee of the US House of Representatives to pass a resolution demanding that the US defend Taiwan in the case of Chinese attack.. 'Mainland China is not going to take Taiwan by force now. Even if that happens in the future, US intervention will only threaten regional security,' he said. Professor Xiong said history had proved that whenever the US became deeply involved in Taiwan Strait affairs, relations between Taipei and Beijing had got worse. From the 1950s to the late '60s the US had been actively involved in regional conflicts, and that was one of the worst periods of relations between mainland China and Taiwan.. Professor Xiong said Beijing was concerned that the US might invite a re-elected Taiwanese leader Lee Teng-hui to Washington and might support Taiwan's bid to join the United Nations.