Watch live: Taiwan’s president visits military base as China surrounds country with mock invasion drills

Watch live as Taiwan’s President Lai Ching-te reacts to China’s military drills announcement during a visit to a military base on Thursday (23 May).

A furious China has launched a major military exercise surrounding Taiwan, saying they are “punishment” for the comments of newly elected Taiwanese president Lai Ching-Te.

China, which claims democratically governed Taiwan as its own territory, derides Mr Lai as “separatist”, and earlier this week denounced Mr Lai’s inauguration speech in which he called on China to stop its threats and said the two sides of the strait were “not subordinate to each other”.

Taiwan has scrambled its own jets and put missile, naval and land units on alert after the Chinese People’s Liberation Army started joint military drills, involving the army, navy, air force and rocket force, in areas around the independent island at 7.45am.

Denouncing China’s drills, Taiwan’s defence ministry called it an “irrational provocation that has jeopardised regional peace and stability”. It said that though Taiwan does not seek conflict, it “will not shy away from one”.