China continues military drill near Taiwan; US calls for restraint

Chinese military drills near Taiwan entered a second day Friday amid calls from the US for restraint.

China's Eastern Theater Command announced on Thursday about a two-day exercise through Friday around Taiwan, the Kinmen Islands and other areas.

In a Friday social media post, the command spokesperson said the ongoing drill intends to verify coordination among military branches.

Taiwan's defense ministry said that during the 24 hours through 6 a.m. on Friday, it had detected total of 49 Chinese armed forces aircraft, 19 military ships and seven government vessels near Taiwan.

Taiwan's Air Force released what it says are videos and pictures of Chinese vessels that an anti-submarine patrol plane captured on Thursday. Taiwan is apparently trying to show that China's every move is under its watch.

The Chinese military has said the exercise is a warning against pro-independence movements by separatist forces in Taiwan.

Beijing has expressed its intention to increase military pressure on Taiwan's new president, Lai Ching-te, after he defied Beijing's claim that Taiwan is part of China in his inaugural speech.

A spokesperson at the US State Department told NHK on Thursday that Washington is closely monitoring the situation in close coordination with Taiwan and strongly urges Beijing to act with restraint.

The spokesperson said China's actions risk escalation and erode longstanding norms that have maintained regional peace and stability for decades.

Whether China will end the military drill on Friday is also a focal point by concerned parties.