China announced on Saturday that it would conduct three days of military drills around Taiwan, days after the Taiwanese president, Tsai Ing-wen, met with the speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy, in California.
China, which claims Taiwan as its own territory, had condemned the meeting. It is the highest-level government reception a Taiwanese president has received in the United States since the United States established diplomatic relations with Beijing in 1979, and China’s defense and foreign ministries had promised a forceful response.
But the drills announced so far are more limited than those that China held in August, after the House speaker at the time, Nancy Pelosi, visited Taiwan to show solidarity for the island democracy. Then, Beijing carried out its largest-ever military exercises, sending live missiles into waters around the island and simulating a blockade of it.
The new round of exercises will take place between Saturday and Monday, according to a statement from Colonel Shi Yi, a spokesman for the Chinese military’s Eastern Theater Command, which encompasses Taiwan. They will include combat readiness patrols and drills in the strait between China and Taiwan, as well as to north, south and east of the island.
China’s Maritime Safety Agency in Fujian, the province closest to Taiwan, had also on Thursday and Friday announced that it would conduct several days of patrols.
Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said in a statement Saturday that it had detected 13 Chinese military aircraft and three navy vessels around Taiwan between 6 a.m. Friday and Saturday, including four that crossed the so-called median line, an informal boundary between Taiwan and the mainland.
China’s relatively restrained response, for now, appears to reflect a shift in diplomatic strategy. During Ms. Pelosi’s visit, Beijing — facing pressure domestically because of a slowing economy amid prolonged coronavirus restrictions — had seemed eager to rally nationalist sentiment with a bellicose response. It announced the live-fire drills before Ms. Pelosi had even left Taiwan, and also suspended military and climate talks with the United States.
But in recent months, after abandoning Covid controls, the government has tried to repair its image abroad, especially in Europe. President Emmanuel Macron of France met with China’s top leader, Xi Jinping, over several days in Beijing and in the southern city of Guangzhou this week. The drills were not announced until after Mr. Macron left the country.
Chris Buckley and Amy Chang Chien contributed reporting.