China threatens live-fire missile drills east of Taiwan and near US island of Guam

China has enhanced its military drills in and around East Asia amid rising tensions with the United States and the visit of US cabinet secretary to Taiwan.

Beijing has stepped up its game after the United States sent two  aircraft carrier strike groups in the South China sea twice in July.

China could even consider live-fire exercises to portray its muscular self.

The visit of US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar to Taiwan has now only worsened the worse tensions. Azar is the highest ranking official to visit Taiwan in decades.

Azar’s presence in Taipei is “a serious breach” of US commitments on Taiwan, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said Monday afternoon.

“We urge the US side to abide by the one-China principle and the provisions of three China-U.S. joint communiques, stop official interactions and contact of all kinds as well as the upgrading of substantive relations with the island, and handle Taiwan-related issues in a prudent and proper manner, so as not to seriously damage China-US cooperation in major areas as well as peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait,” Xinhua news quoted Zhao.

China sent fighter jets across the median line in the Taiwan Strait, which Taiwan said its warplanes warned off. The Chinese jets were also tracked by Taiwan’s land-based anti-aircraft missiles, Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said.

Though still in international airspace, the Taiwan Strait median line has been an informal but largely respected dividing line for Beijing and Taipei.

This is only the third time that Beijing’s warplanes have only crossed it intentionally since 1999.

Global Times, China’s English mouthpiece said, “If the US goes further, the PLA could take more countermeasures, including live-fire missile drills east of Taiwan island and near Guam.”