On Monday, Taiwan condemned China for conducting a second military exercise around the island in less than a month, after Taiwan's defense ministry said it had detected 57 Chinese planes, Reuters writes.
China's People's Liberation Army's Eastern Combatant Command said Chinese forces conducted "joint combat readiness patrols and real combat exercises" in the sea and airspace around Taiwan, focusing on ground strikes and sea-based attacks.
The aim, it said, was to test joint combat capabilities and "resolutely oppose the provocative actions of foreign forces and pro-Taiwan independence separatist forces," it said in a brief statement late Sunday.
Taiwan's presidential office said China was making "baseless accusations" and strongly condemned the drills, saying peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and the region are the shared responsibility of Taiwan and China.
Taiwan's position is very clear: it will neither escalate conflicts nor provoke disputes, but will firmly protect its sovereignty and security, the office said in a statement.
Taiwan's Defense Ministry said that 57 Chinese aircraft and four Navy ships were detected operating around the island in the previous day, including 28 aircraft that flew into Taiwan's air defense zone.
Some of those 28 aircraft crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait, an unofficial buffer zone between the two sides, including Su-30 and J-16 fighter jets, and two nuclear-capable H-6 bombers reportedly flew to southern Taiwan . .
During a similar exercise by China late last month, Taiwan said 43 Chinese aircraft crossed the median line.
China considers Taiwan its territory. Last August, China conducted military exercises around Taiwan following a visit to Taipei by Nancy Pelosi, then the speaker of the US House of Representatives.
Taiwan strongly rejects Beijing's claims to sovereignty, saying only the island's 23 million residents can decide their own future.
Beijing is particularly outraged by US support for Taiwan, including arms sales.