China continues second day of military drills around Taiwan
Military drills involving Chinese forces are continuing for a second day, with air force sorties. The move comes right after Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen returned from her visit to the US.
China continued military drills around Taiwan for a second day on Sunday, as the US said it was keeping an eye on events.
Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense reported air force sorties and said it was monitoring the movement of China’s missile forces.
"Regarding the movements of the Chinese communists' Rocket Force, the nation's military also has a close grasp through the joint intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance system, and air defense forces remain on high alert," the ministry said.
The operation is known as "Joint Sword" and will run until Monday, the People's Liberation Army's (PLA) Eastern Theatre Command said.
A report from Chinese state broadcaster CCTV said, "the task force will simultaneously organize patrols and advances around Taiwan island, shaping an all-round encirclement and deterrence posture."
Taiwan, US react
China launched large-scale military exercises around the island on Saturday, after Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen returned from an official visit to the United States despite Beijing’s warning against it.
She met the speaker of the US House of Representatives Kevin McCarthy.
Tsai denounced the drills and pledged to work with "the US and other like-minded countries" in the face of "continued authoritarian expansionism".
A US State Department spokesperson said Washington had "consistently urged restraint and no change to the status quo", but noted it had ample resources to fulfil its security commitments in Asia.
The activities on Saturday had wrapped up by sunset, a source told Reuters agency. However, Taipei said the activities had resumed on Sunday, as fighter aircraft crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait.
Last August, after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taipei, China had conducted drills and fired missiles into the water close to Taiwan.
Washington does not have formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan, but has a commitment to help the island protect itself. It remains a volatile issue between China and the US.
Increase in military drills
For the past three years, China has been flying regular missions around Taiwan, though not in its territorial air space or over the island itself.
Taiwan's defence ministry said early on Sunday that in the previous 24 hours it had spotted 71 Chinese air force aircraft and nine navy vessels around Taiwan.
Exercises on Monday are expected to include live-fire drills off the rocky coast of China's Fujian province, about 80 km (50 miles) south of Taiwan's Matsu Islands and 186 km (115 miles) from Taipei.
"These operations serve as a stern warning against the collusion between separatist forces seeking 'Taiwan independence' and external forces and against their provocative activities," said Shi Yin, a PLA spokesman.
Taiwan’s Ocean Affairs Council released footage late on Saturday showing one of its ships shadowing a Chinese warship.
"You are seriously harming regional peace, stability and security. Please immediately turn around and leave. If you continue to proceed we will take expulsion measures," a Coast Guard officer says by radio to the Chinese ship.
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