China’s military said it had "successfully completed" three days of military drills around Taiwan on Monday, with air and sea blockade training involving an aircraft carrier and simulated strikes by warplanes carrying live ammunition under "actual combat conditions."

The “Joint Sword” drills — which began just days after Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen’s landmark meeting with U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in California — had been characterized by China as “a serious warning against the Taiwan independence separatist forces’ collusion and provocation with external forces,” a thinly veiled reference to the U.S.

Beijing views Taiwan as a “core issue” and calls the democratic island a renegade province that must be unified with the mainland — by force, if necessary.