China concludes war games as Taiwan reports a surge in warplanes and warships.

China concluded two days of war games around Taiwan, simulating attacks with bombers and practicing ship boardings, exercises that Taiwan condemned as “blatant provocation.” Taiwan detailed a surge of Chinese warplanes and warships during the drills.

Chinese state television’s military channel announced late Friday that the drills had ended. According to the official People’s Liberation Army Daily, the exercises, named “Joint Sword – 2024A,” lasted from Thursday to Friday, as previously scheduled.

China’s defense ministry did not respond to calls for comment on Saturday.

China, which claims Taiwan as its own territory, initiated the exercises three days after Lai Ching-te became Taiwan’s president, whom Beijing labels a “separatist.” Beijing stated the drills were “punishment” for Lai’s inauguration speech on Monday, in which he declared the two sides of the Taiwan Strait were “not subordinate to each other,” a statement China viewed as asserting Taiwan’s separate status.

Lai has repeatedly offered to hold talks with China but has been rebuffed. He maintains that only the people of Taiwan can decide their future, rejecting Beijing’s claims of sovereignty. Taiwan’s government condemned the drills, stating it would not be intimidated by Chinese pressure.

Taiwan’s defense ministry reported detecting 62 Chinese military aircraft and 27 navy ships on Friday, with 46 planes crossing the Taiwan Strait’s median line, which previously served as an unofficial boundary. Chinese aircraft, including advanced Su-30 fighters and nuclear-capable H-6 bombers, operated in the strait and into the Bashi Channel, which separates Taiwan from the Philippines.

On Friday, the ministry released footage from Taiwanese air force planes showing a Chinese J-16 fighter and an H-6 bomber, without specifying the exact location.

Taiwan’s presidential office stated on Saturday that China’s military actions undermined the peaceful and stable status quo in the Taiwan Strait and constituted a blatant provocation to the international order, causing serious concern and condemnation from the international community.

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