China rehearses blockade of Taiwan as US deploys destroyer
Military drills close to Taiwan have continued for a third day as Chinese forces carried out simulated aerial and naval blockades.
China's military on Monday continued large-scale military drills for a third consecutive day near Taiwan, with a simulated blockade of the island.
Chinese state television reported that aircraft, including nuclear-capable H-6 bombers armed with missiles, and warships performed drills to "form a multi-directional island-encompasing blockade situation."
Taiwan's Defence Ministry said that it had registered 70 PLA aircraft and 11 Chinese naval vessels from China's military by 6 a.m. (22:00 GMT), and said its armed forces were monitoring the situation closely.
Taiwan's military said that 35 of the detected aircraft had crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait.
US naval destroyer patrolling
Meanwhile, the US deployed a naval destroyer into waters claimed by Beijing, a move that elicited an angry response from China's military.
"Missile destroyer USS Milius illegally intruded into the waters adjacent to the Meiji Reef in China's Nansha Islands without the approval of the Chinese government," spokesman for the Chinese military's Southern Theatre Command, Tian Junli said in a statement.
He went on to say that Beijing's air force "followed and carried out surveillance of the vessel."
The US Navy said its guided-missile destroyer had conducted a navigational rights operation and was consistent with international law.
"This freedom of navigation operation upheld the rights, freedoms, and lawful uses of the sea," the US Navy said in a statement.
Drills in response to Taiwanese leader's US meeting
China launched the drills dubbed "United Sharp Sword" in response to last week's meeting between Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen and US House speaker Kevin McCarthy and said it was a "stern warning."
The meeting took place after Tsai stopped in California on her way home, having completed a trip to Central America.
Beijing considers the democratically self-governed island of Taiwan as its own and has threatened to take it by force.
Washington has no formal diplomatic relations with Taipei, however, the US is also Taiwan's most significant political and military backer.
kb/rc (AFP, dpa, Reuters)