China reportedly began a six-day, large-scale, live-fire military drill in an area of the East China Sea "similar in size to the island of Taiwan" on Wednesday, according to state-run media, amid growing friction between Taipei and Beijing.

In a report headlined "PLA drill in East China Sea 'tailored for Taiwan separatists,' " the hawkish Global Times tabloid alluded to the exercise as being a message to Taipei, calling it a "joint operation with high complexity" designed "to simulate real combat."

The military drills come amid heightened tensions between Taiwan and China, which has warned that it will defend — by force if necessary — its "One China" principle under which the self-ruling island is seen as part of China's own territory, awaiting reunification.