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Taiwan detected 12 Chinese warships, 91 jets on final day of drills —defense ministry

TAIPEI — Taiwan's defense ministry said it detected 12 Chinese warships and 91 aircraft around the island on Monday, after Beijing ended three-day military exercises.

"Although [China's] Eastern Theatre Command has announced the end of its exercise, the military will never relax its efforts to strengthen its combat readiness," the defense ministry said in a statement, adding that its tally of ships and aircraft was as of 6 p.m. (1000 GMT) on Monday.

After the drills ended, Taiwan's foreign ministry condemned China for undermining "peace and stability" in the region.

China had declared it had "successfully completed" three days of war games around Taiwan, capping a show of force that saw it simulate targeted strikes and practice a blockade of the self-ruled island.

Beijing's exercises were a response to Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen's meeting with US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy last week, an encounter it had warned would provoke strong countermeasures.

The exercise "comprehensively tested the integrated joint combat ability of multiple military branches under actual combat conditions," the People's Liberation Army's (PLA) Eastern Command said in a statement.

The statement said troops were "ready for battle and can fight at any time, and will resolutely smash any form of 'Taiwan independence' separatism and foreign interference attempts."

The war games saw Beijing simulate targeted strikes on Taiwan and encirclement of the island, including "sealing" it off, and a state media report said dozens of planes had practiced an "aerial blockade."

One of China's two aircraft carriers, the Shandong, also "participated in today's exercise," the military said. — Agence France-Presse

Tags: Taiwan, China, news