China launched military drills around Taiwan as a "stern warning" in response to Taiwan's vice president, William Lai, making a stopover in the United States.

Lai, a frontrunner in Taiwan's presidential election, visited Paraguay via New York and San Francisco, upsetting China.

China labeled Lai a "troublemaker" and pledged to take strong actions to protect national sovereignty.

The Chinese People's Liberation Army's Eastern Theatre Command initiated joint air and sea patrols and military exercises around Taiwan to test its ability to control air and sea spaces and combat conditions.

China claims Taiwan and has not ruled out using force to bring it under its control.

The military exercises were also intended to warn against "Taiwan independence" separatists and foreign collaborations.

Similar military exercises were conducted previously after visits by US officials to Taiwan.

China's Communist Party's Taiwan Work Office condemned Lai's trip, accusing him of colluding with the United States and endangering Taiwan's interests.

Lai has been vocal about resisting annexation and upholding Taiwan's independence.

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