Chinese military drills held around Taiwan should be viewed as a warning to the self-governing island, a government spokesperson said Wednesday.
The Chinese military held three days of large-scale air and sea exercises it dubbed “Joint Sword” that ended Monday, and comes after U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy held a meeting with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen.
China warned of serious consequences if the meeting took place.
Zhu Fenglian, a spokesperson for the Cabinet’s Taiwan Affairs Office, made the remarks during a news conference Wednesday morning.
“The People’s Liberation Army recently organized and conducted a series of countermeasures in the Taiwan Strait and surrounding waters, which is a serious warning against the collusion and provocation of Taiwan independence separatist forces and external forces,” Fenglian said. “It is a necessary action to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
As part of the military drills, the Chinese military sent 71 aircraft and nine navy vessels around Taiwan on Sunday.
While China claims that the military drills are over, it’s still sending aircraft and navy vessels around Taiwan.
Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense said Wednesday it tracked 35 flights flown by the People’s Liberation Army within the past 24 hours along with eight navy vessels in the area surrounding the island.
Taiwan’s Ministry of Transportation said it received a notice from China’s Civil Aviation Administration, stating that it’s setting up a control zone to “restrict flights” in some parts of northern Taiwan, April 16-18.
“On their own, they set up a warning area to control flights within our country’s jurisdiction’s Taipei Aviation Information Region, using the excuse of aerospace activities,” the statement from Taiwan’s transportation ministry read.
Taiwan strongly objected to the notice and got China to reduce the control zone to 27 minutes, down from three days, on April 16.
The Associated Press and Fox News’ Paul Best contributed to this report.