TAIPEI (Dispatches) -- China ended three days of military drills around Taiwan on Monday saying they had tested integrated military capabilities under actual combat conditions, having practised precision strikes and blockading the island that Beijing views as its own.
Beijing announced the drills on Saturday, after Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen returned to Taipei following a meeting in Los Angeles with U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
China has never renounced the use of force to bring the island under Beijing’s control. Taiwan’s government strongly disputes China’s claims and has denounced the drills.
The Chinese military said it had “successfully completed” the exercises and “comprehensively tested” the capabilities of multiple units under actual combat conditions.
Chinese state television said earlier on Monday that aircraft, including nuclear-capable H-6 bombers armed with live missiles, and warships staged drills to “form a multi-directional island-encompassing blockade situation”.
The Eastern Theatre Command said the Shandong aircraft carrier had also taken part in combat patrols, and it showed fighters taking off from its deck.
Taiwan’s defense ministry published a map on Monday of the previous 24 hours of Chinese air force activities, showing four carrier-based Chinese J-15 fighters operating over the Pacific Ocean to Taiwan’s east.
The ministry said that as of mid-morning on Monday it had spotted 59 military aircraft and 11 ships around Taiwan, and that the Shandong carrier group was conducting drills in the Western Pacific.
The Shandong conducted air operations in waters close to Japan’s Okinawan islands on Sunday, Japan’s defense ministry said on Monday.
Jet fighters and helicopters took off and landed on the carrier 120 times over Friday to Sunday, with the carrier, three other warships and a support vessel coming within 230 kilometers (143 miles) of Japan’s Miyako island, the defense ministry said.
The southern Japanese island of Okinawa hosts a major U.S. air force base, and last August when China staged war games to protest the visit of then-U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taipei, Chinese missiles landed within Japan’s exclusive economic zone.
The Kremlin backed China’s three-day drills around Taiwan, saying Beijing had a “sovereign right” to respond to what Moscow called “provocative acts.”
“We have witnessed multiple acts that were provocative in their character towards the Chinese People’s Republic,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. “China has the sovereign right to respond to these provocative acts, including with military maneuvers, in strict accordance with international law.”