Chinese Army conducts military drills 'around Taiwan'
The spokesperson for the PLA Eastern Theater Command says that the PLA held military exercises in near Taiwan to assess the troops' joint combat capabilities.
China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) held on Sunday military exercises in waters and airspace near Taiwan, in what the Island considers to be its "territorial waters," to test the combat effectiveness of Chinese troops, Shi Yi, spokesperson for the PLA Eastern Theater Command, said.
"On January 8, the PLA Eastern Theater Command organized joint combat patrols of various types and branches of troops and practical military exercises in the sea and airspace around the island of Taiwan," the spokesperson said in a statement posted on WeChat.
The drills were aimed to assess the troops' joint combat capabilities and resolutely counter the provocative actions of external and separatist forces supporting Taiwan's independence, the statement read.
Last year, tensions soared between China and Taiwan, reaching their highest in decades, due to a visit by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to the island after Beijing warned both Washington and Taipei against such a trip.
However, several countries, including France, the US, Japan, and others sent their delegations to the island, further increasing tensions in the Taiwan Strait.
Since August, China has carried out several large-scale military exercises near Taiwan in response to the visits of high-ranking US officials to the island.
Pelosi's visit also led China to announce ending cooperation with the United States on a number of issues such as climate change, anti-drug efforts, and military talks.
In September, US President Joe Biden said US soldiers would defend Taiwan if China "intervened", and Taiwan's Foreign Ministry expressed thanks to Biden for his reaffirming the "US government's rock-solid security commitment to Taiwan."
The escalation in the region saw Taiwan announcing plans on increasing its security budget in light of rising tensions with Beijing, especially due to the latest developments that drove a wider wedge between China and Taipei.
Beijing regards Taiwan as its sovereign territory and promises that it will eventually be reintegrated with the mainland under the "one country, two systems" model. Taiwan has been governed independently since breaking away from mainland China in 1949.
Read: China: reunification with Taiwan 'unstoppable historical trend'