This handout photo, taken and released on February 10, 2020, by Taiwanís defense ministry shows a Taiwanese F-16 fighter jet flying next to a Chinese H-6 bomber (top) in the airspace of the island. (Via AFP)
China has completed two days of military exercises near Taiwan to improve its combat capabilities, the Chinese military says.
The Peopleís Liberation Armyís Eastern Theater Command said in a statement late on Monday that its forces conducted "air-ground assault and fire support drills to further refine and test their multi-service joint combat capabilities."
On Sunday, Taiwanís F-16 fighter jets scrambled and shadowed Chinese fighters and bombers that flew close to the island. The self-ruled island also scrambled its fighter jets after Chinese jets allegedly briefly crossed an unofficial middle line in the Taiwan Strait - which separates the two - on Monday.
China has pursued Taiwanís reunification ever since the island broke away from the mainland during a civil war in 1949. China claims full sovereignty over the island and almost all world countries recognize that sovereignty.
Relations between Beijing and Taipei have particularly been strained since President Tsai Ing-wen came to power on the island in 2016. She has strong anti-China inclinations and rejects Chinese sovereignty.
In its statement, Chinaís Eastern Theater Command said that, "Taiwan independence forces have ignored national justice and stepped up their pursuit of independence."
"The theater forces always maintain a high degree of alertness, follow the situation closely, and resolutely fulfill their missions," it added.
Taiwan has condemned the maneuvers, saying the island will not buckle in the face of what it calls Chinese threats.
The US has long courted Taipei in an attempt to counter Beijing. The US, which has no formal diplomatic relations with Taipei by law, has extensive military ties with the island, selling it advanced military hardware.
SOURCE: PRESS TV