China on Wednesday began what it called a “special inspection operation” in the Taiwan Strait which will feature a joint patrol by Chinese armed forces.
The announcement came hours ahead of a meeting between Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen and US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in the US on Wednesday.
Fujian Maritime Safety Administration in southern China said: “A joint patrol and special inspection operation has started in the central and northern parts of the Taiwan Straits.”
It made the announcement on its local social media account, without providing details, according to the daily South China Morning Post.
Beijing, which considers Taiwan as its “breakaway province”, has opposed any official contact between Taipei and Washington.
The unannounced trip to Taiwan by McCarthy’s predecessor Nancy Pelosi last August had triggered an unprecedented military operation by China around the island nation, home to around 24 million people.
Chinese armed forces held military exercises around Taiwan and also fired missiles across Taiwan Strait.
People’s Liberation Army (PLA) had Sunday said its navy “deployed two destroyers and a frigate to the East China Sea for live fire.”
McCarthy will host Tsai at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California.
Tsai, 66, is on a 10-day trip to Central America since last Wednesday.