A Taiwanese IDF fighter jet fires during a naval drill in May 2019. Taiwan restarted exercises on Monday. File Photo by Ritchie B. Tongo/EPA-EFE
July 30 (UPI) -- Taiwan's military is responding to Chinese exercises in the Taiwan Strait with drills that warn Beijing's aircraft carriers.
Taiwan began large-scale exercises on Monday, the same day China's Guangdong Maritime Bureau carried out a military drill near Taiwan, Taiwan's Central News Agency reported Tuesday.
Taipei's training included live-fire exercises in the air, conducted by Taiwan's air force at Jiupeng military base, according to the report.
At Taiwan's Hualien Air Base, two F-16 fighter jets fired the Harpoon, an anti-ship missile, at a retired ship in an exercise that appeared to be preparation for potential measures against the Liaoning, a Chinese aircraft carrier that has sailed in the Taiwan Strait.
Other fighter jets dropped 2,000-pound bombs in eight rounds to sink targets in water. The exercise marks the first time since 2001 Taiwan's military has launched a Harpoon missile during exercises, Taiwan's Liberty Times reported.
Local Taiwanese news services said the drills are preparations against fleets of aircraft carriers.
Jie Zhong, a researcher at Taiwan's National Policy Foundation, said Beijing's exercises that began Monday cannot be viewed lightly in a statement that defended Taipei's live-fire training.
China's recent drills are being held by the sections of the People's Liberation Army in charge of the East and South combat zones. Those sections are also in charge of potential invasions of Taiwan, Jie said, according to Liberty Times.
The analyst said China is trying to ramp up pressure against the United States and Taiwan by creating a "tense atmosphere."
On Monday China issued an alert regarding a drill near Dongshandao, a coastal area in the Chinese province of Fujian, directly opposite of Taiwan, Taiwan News reported.
China banned ships from entering the zone.
Taiwan's defense ministry had said it is "confident of its capacity to defend the homeland," according to the report.