China held assault drills near Taiwan on Tuesday with combat ships and fighter jets in response to what Beijing says was “provocation” from the U.S. and Taiwan.
The military exercises — which included fighter jets, anti-submarine aircraft and warships — come as Beijing in the past year has stepped up drills around self-ruled Taiwan that it claims as Chinese territory.
Chinese military officials said the exercises were meant to carry out “joint fire assault and other drills using actual troops,” in response to U.S.-Taiwan “provocation” that is “severely undermining peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait” and “severely infringing upon China's sovereignty.”
Taiwan’s defense ministry confirmed the drills on Twitter and said it issued radio warnings and scrambled aircraft to monitor the activity.
The military drills were likely in response to the Biden administration earlier this month approving its first arms sale to Taiwan, a $750 million artillery system package.
Beijing has frequently lashed out whenever Washington approves arms sales for Taiwan, including in November when China vowed a “proper and necessary response” after the Trump administration approved a $600 million drone sale to the island.
U.S. and Taiwanese coast guard officials met last week to discuss bettering cooperation and communication. The two maintain unofficial relations but the United States frequently provides arms and political support to Taiwan.