Beijing regards Taiwan as a breakaway province which must be reunited with China, and has threatened to take the country by force.
In January, China ramped up military drills near Taiwan, with repeated incursions into the country’s airspace.
A dozen bombers and fighter jets were scrambled over the Taiwan Straits as Wu Qian, Chinese Defence Ministry spokesman, said: “We are seriously telling those Taiwan independence forces: those who play with fire will burn themselves, and Taiwan independence means war.
“The military activities carried out by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army in the Taiwan Strait are necessary actions to address the current security situation in the Taiwan Strait and to safeguard national sovereignty and security.
“They are a solemn response to external interference and provocations by ‘Taiwan independence’ forces.”