As the United States concludes its historic meeting with South Korea and Japan, China begins military maneuvers in the region around Taiwan.

This weekend, as leaders from the United States, South Korea, and Japan concluded a historic summit at Camp David aimed at bolstering up their relationships, the Chinese military conducted coordinated air and sea patrols surrounding Taiwan.

According to official news agency Xinhua, Shi Yi, spokeswoman for the Eastern Theater Command, stated that the patrols and drills were designed to teach the cooperation of military boats and aircraft and their capacity to take control of air and sea sectors.

The drills, according to Shi, would evaluate the Chinese military’s “ability to fight in real combat conditions.”

“The patrols and exercises serve as a stern warning to the collusion of ‘Taiwan independence’ separatists with foreign elements and their provocations,” Shi said further.

Despite never having ruled over Taiwan, China’s communist party claims the self-governing, democratic island as its own. It has sworn to seize the island by any means necessary.

This comes after China’s foreign minister a week ago called Taiwan’s vice president and presidential candidate William Lai a “troublemaker through and through” for traveling via the United States to reach Paraguay, Taiwan’s lone diplomatic ally in South America. China claims sovereignty over Taiwan, although it is concerned by frequent visits by Taiwanese officials to the United States.

There is a connection between the military exercises and a historic trilateral meeting between the United States, South Korea, and Japan, which has been underpinned by the three nations’ shared concern about China.

All three heads of state met on Friday at Camp David, where they decided to increase their military and economic cooperation and criticized Beijing for its “dangerous and aggressive behavior” in the South China Sea.

In response to China’s announcement of exercises surrounding Taiwan on Saturday, Taipei’s defense ministry blasted Beijing for “irrational and provocative behavior.”

In response, the Ministry of National Defense said that it will deploy soldiers “to defend the freedom of democracy and the sovereignty” of Taiwan.

“Launching a military exercise under such pretext not only doesn’t help the peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait, but it also highlights (China’s) militaristic mentality and reinstates the domineering nature of military expansion,” the ministry stated.

In the last several months, China has increased the frequency with which it sends bombers and warships near Taiwan.

The air defense identification zone is a buffer zone outside Taiwan’s territorial airspace that is often violated by Chinese airplanes.

According to Taiwan’s military ministry, China’s communist party is endangering regional security with its persistent “harassment.”

Amid “repeated advances” by the Chinese military, the document reassured readers that “all officers and soldiers of the national army are ready to fight, uphold the strong will of ‘preparing for war, not seeking war, responding to war, not avoiding war,’ and have the ability, determination, and confidence to ensure national security.”

In a veiled rebuke of the United States, China’s defense minister Li Shangfu addressed a security conference in Russia on Tuesday and cautioned against “playing with fire” with regards to Taiwan.

Although there are no diplomatic connections between the United States and Taiwan, it is one of Taiwan’s most staunch supporters and a major source of armaments.

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