China has conducted a second day of military drills near Taiwan on Sunday. Dozens of fighter jets and warships were deployed in the exercises.
China began the three-day drills on Saturday. Monday is set to be the last day for the drills, which are widely viewed as a retaliatory measure for the Taiwan president’s recent meeting in California with U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
The Chinese military said in a statement that the combat readiness patrols and “Joint Sword” exercises around Taiwan are a “serious warning to the Taiwan independence separatist forces’ and external forces’ collusion and provocation.”
“The operations are necessary for safeguarding China’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” the military said.
Taiwan’s defense ministry said Saturday eight Chinese warships and 42 fighter jets were detected around the island and that some of the deployed craft had crossed the middle line of the strait that separates the island from the mainland.
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen denounced the drills, saying Taiwan will continue to work with the United States and other democracies as the island faces “continued authoritarian expansionism” from China.
China claims Taiwan as part of its territory, but Taiwan claims it is independent.
The United States has a “One China” policy, which acknowledges that Beijing considers Taiwan to be part of China. The U.S. considers Taiwan’s status unsettled and sends military aid to the self-governed island to help it defend itself.
U.S. President Joe Biden has frequently said the United States would defend Taiwan militarily if China were to invade, although Washington has maintained that its One China policy has not changed.
Last year, Tsai hosted then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in Taiwan and China reacted by holding its largest live-fire military drills in decades around the self-governed island.