The Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) conducted a drill with J-11 fighter jets, H-6 bombers and KJ-500 early warning aircraft on Friday, in its "military struggle" preparation against Taiwan.
"The drills were a part of preparations for the potential military struggle against the island of Taiwan, and such drills have become regular and routine," Song Zhongping, a military expert, was quoted as saying by Global Times.
The Taiwanese state media claim that such exercises have been held "at least four times" near the island, since the traditional Spring Festival holiday in late January.
The PLA conducted a combat-readiness patrol mission featuring warships and warplanes on February 9, joint exercises on February 10, and "rare" warplane nighttime exercises on March 16, despite the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
On Friday, the PLA warplanes are said to have entered the Western Pacific Ocean through the Bashi Channel, then returned to base along the same route they came from.
Song said he expects the PLA drills to become more targeted, larger and more frequent.
"The exercises need to let Taiwan secessionists know that the support of foreign forces is useless and also let foreign forces understand that the PLA possesses the ability and determination to solve the Taiwan question," Song said.
The United States recently signed the Taiwan Allies International Protection and Enhancement Initiative (TAIPEI) Act into law. Under the bill, the US will consider reducing its economic, security and diplomatic engagement with nations that take significant actions to undermine Taiwan. The move will help Taiwan gain participation in international organizations, either as a member or an observer, and engage in weapons trade.
Zhu Fenglian, a spokesperson for the State Council Taiwan Affairs Office, said following the signing of the US act on March 26 that China's national reunification and rejuvenation will not be stopped by any force.