(Beijing) China’s military announced “combat readiness” exercises in the Taiwan Strait on Saturday, amid tensions with the island after a meeting in the United States of its president Tsai Ing-wen and the third figure of the American state.

China sees with dissatisfaction the rapprochement at work in recent years between the Taiwanese authorities and the United States, which despite the absence of official relations has provided the island with military support against Beijing for several decades.

China considers Taiwan, with a population of 23 million, to be one of its provinces, which it has yet to successfully reunify with the rest of its territory since the end of the Chinese Civil War in 1949.

The Chinese government had promised “firm and forceful measures”, after the meeting Wednesday between Tsai Ing-wen and Kevin McCarthy, the speaker of the House of Representatives of the United States.

The United States recognized the People’s Republic of China in 1979 and should theoretically have no official contact with the Republic of China (Taiwan), under the “one China principle” championed by Beijing.

Since Thursday, Beijing has been stepping up military pressure on Taiwan with the dispatch of warships and aircraft to the strait.

And on Saturday the Chinese military announced three days of “combat readiness” exercises as well as “police patrols” in the Taiwan Strait.

The exact location of these maneuvers is not specified.

The narrowest part of the strait between the Chinese coast and Taiwan is about 130 kilometers wide.

For several days, China has reinforced the presence of its coastguards in the strait for exceptional patrols.

On Saturday morning in Pingtan, the closest point to Taiwan in southeast China, tourists were watching the choppy waters of the sea, but no notable military activity was visible.

On Friday, AFP journalists on the spot saw a military ship and at least two military helicopters passing through the Taiwan Strait.

It was unclear, however, whether the moves represented an increase in the usual number of Chinese patrols in the area.

In August, Beijing launched unprecedented military maneuvers around Taiwan when Democrat Nancy Pelosi, who preceded McCarthy to roost, visited the island.

The response at this stage to the meeting with the American number three has nothing to compare with the summer of 2022. It does, however, put Taipei on high alert.

The Taiwanese Ministry of Defense said on Saturday during its daily update at the start of the day that it had detected 13 aircraft and three Chinese warships around the island.