China says Taiwan military drills are over after Pelosi visit

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PLA jet, 05 AugImage source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Chinese jets have been taking part in the drills in recent days

China says it has completed nearly a week of military drills around Taiwan following a visit to the self-governing island by US politician Nancy Pelosi.

Sea and air operations were successful, said China's military, which vowed to keep patrolling the Taiwan Strait.

Ms Pelosi's brief trip incensed Beijing, which views Taiwan as a breakaway province to be reunited with the mainland - by force if necessary.

Taiwan has accused China of using the drills as practice for an invasion.

The island's government rejects Chinese claims of sovereignty and sees itself as distinct from the mainland. Beijing seeks to isolate the island internationally.

House Speaker Pelosi, the highest-ranking US official to land in Taiwan since the 1990s, defied China's warnings not to visit last week, sending tensions soaring.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Speaker Pelosi held a landmark meeting with Taiwanese President Tsai

Four days of live-fire exercises were followed by anti-submarine attacks and sea raid rehearsals as part of China's furious response.

The People's Liberation Army statement promised to keep conducting "regular combat readiness patrols" in the Taiwan Strait.

Taiwan's defence ministry said 36 Chinese military aircraft and 10 ships were still operating around the strait on Wednesday.

On Wednesday, China's Taiwan Affairs office refused to rule out the use of force to retake the island.

"We will only be forced to take drastic measures to respond to the provocation of separatist elements or external forces should they ever cross our red lines," said it first white paper on Taiwan in more than 20 years.

The policy document omitted a past promise not to send troops or administrators to Taiwan if it's taken back - a sign that Beijing intends less autonomy for the island than previously promised.

An overwhelming majority of people in Taiwan, a democracy with a free media, oppose any sort of unification with Communist-ruled China, recent polls show.

China and Taiwan: The basics

  • Why do China and Taiwan have poor relations? China sees the self-ruled island as a part of its territory and insists it should be unified with the mainland, by force if necessary
  • How is Taiwan governed? The island has its own constitution, democratically elected leaders, and about 300,000 active troops in its armed forces
  • Who recognises Taiwan? Only a few countries recognise Taiwan. Most recognise the Chinese government in Beijing instead. The US has no official ties with Taiwan but does have a law which requires it to provide the island with the means to defend itself
Media caption,

Foreign minister, Joseph Wu, condemns China's military drills around Taiwan