After three days of military exercises near Taiwan, China declared on Monday that it had tested integrated military capabilities in real-world battle situations.
This also includes reports of having performed pinpoint accuracy strikes and blockaded the island that Beijing claims as its own.
Beijing's declaration was met with a response from Taiwan, which stated that it would "never relax" its efforts to increase war preparedness. In addition, it would closely watch China's missile forces and the movements of the Shandong aircraft carrier.
Beijing started the drills on Saturday, following Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen's return to Taipei. This ensued after a meeting with Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Kevin McCarthy in Los Angeles.
China has never shied away from using force to seize control of an island that is democratically run. The Taiwanese administration has condemned the drills and vehemently refuted China's assertions.
The Chinese military said that the drills had been "successfully completed." They also reported that they had "completely tested" the various units' combat readiness in realistic battle situations.
The Eastern Theatre Command of the People's Liberation Army declared in a statement that "the troops in the theatre are always prepared to fight and can fight at any time, resolutely crushing any form of Taiwan independence separatism and foreign interference."
Chinese state television reported earlier on Monday that warships and planes performed drills to "form a multi-directional island-encompassing blockade situation," including nuclear-capable H-6 bombers armed with real missiles. The Shandong was reportedly involved in combat patrols, and footage from the aircraft carrier's deck showed fighters taking off.
Since last week, Taiwan has kept an eye on the Shandong in the Pacific. According to Taiwan's defence ministry, 91 military aircraft, including carrier-based J-15 fighters flown from the Shandong, and 12 Chinese ships had been detected on the island as of Monday morning at 1000 GMT.
How has Japan responded?
According to a report from the Japanese defence ministry on Monday, the Shandong conducted air operations on Sunday in waters near the Okinawan islands of Japan.
The carrier, three other warships, and a support vessel came within 230 kilometres (143 miles) of Japan's Miyako island between Friday and Sunday, according to the defence ministry. Jet fighters and helicopters launched from and landed on the carrier 120 times during that period.
A top government spokeswoman stated on Monday that Japan has been "following China's military drills around Taiwan with great interest." Given how close the southern Japanese islands are to Taiwan, Japan has long been concerned about China's military presence in the region.
On the Japanese island of Okinawa, there is a significant American air force base. When China staged military drills in protest of Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taipei in August last year, Chinese missiles were launched into Japan's exclusive economic zone.
On Monday, the European Union also underlined its concern, stating that Taiwan's status should not be changed by the use of force. This is because any escalation, mishap, or use of force would have profound effects on the entire world.
The United States has also stated that it is closely monitoring China's drills. Russia, which has a "no limits" alliance with China, on the other hand, stated on Monday that Beijing has the right to retaliate against repeated "provocations" and conduct military drills near Taiwan.
However, Taiwan's military has consistently stated that it will react to China's drills peacefully and avoid provoking conflict.
Edited by Adedamola Aresbegola
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