The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Eastern Theater Command continued routine patrols and exercises around the island of Taiwan on Tuesday despite the conclusion of its combat alert patrols and “Joint Sword” exercises, with experts saying the PLA will continue to carry out military operations until “Taiwan independence” forces no longer exist.

After wrapping up the “Joint Sword” exercises on Monday, several warships attached to the PLA Eastern Theater Command Navy on Tuesday continued realistic combat-oriented exercises in waters around the island of Taiwan, testing command capabilities of officers and combat performance of weapons and equipment, China Central Television (CCTV) reported on Tuesday.

Among the warships, the Type 054A frigate Xuzhou conducted air defense and anti-missile training exercises in waters to the east of the island of Taiwan, while the Type 052C destroyer Xi’an practiced beyond-visual-range anti-ship missile strike in another sea region under remote guidance from the land.

Joint anti-submarine is another major training course on Tuesday, as the drills created many different complex emergencies to further hone the sailors’ combat capabilities.

On the land, modularized long-range multiple launch rocket units attached to the PLA Eastern Theater Command Army that took part in the joint exercises in the past three days also switched to routine training on Tuesday, the CCTV report said.

The KVD001 reconnaissance drone was deployed for high altitude reconnaissance, and the data about targets the drone gathered were sent back to the command center and used to guide attacks for artillery units.

Several units operating the PHL-191 modularized long-range multiple launch rocket systems across the country’s southeastern coast took advantage of the weapon’s rapid-response and high-firepower capabilities and carried out multiple waves of mock saturation attacks on targets from far away.

The CCTV report came after the defense authority on the island of Taiwan claimed on Tuesday that it had detected nine PLA warships and 26 PLA aircraft around the island on the day even after the drills had officially ended.

Explaining the continued PLA activities to a foreign media reporter who called the island’s defense authority “Taiwan’s defense ministry,” Wang Wenbin, a spokesperson at China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said at Tuesday’s regular press conference that China stands ready to take resolute measures to safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Wang also pointed out that Taiwan is an inalienable part of China’s territory and there is no such a thing as “Taiwan’s defense ministry.”

While the combat alert patrols and “Joint Sword” exercises ended on Monday, the PLA’s military operations against the “Taiwan independence” forces will continue, said Zhao Xiaozhuo, a research fellow at China’s Academy of Military Sciences.

Zhao told the Global Times that similar military operations will not stop as long as “Taiwan independence” forces continue to exist.

Every time “Taiwan independence” and external interference forces make a provocation, the PLA’s grip on the island of Taiwan will become tighter, another Chinese mainland military expert told the Global Times on Tuesday, requesting anonymity.

The PLA has made its patrols and exercises around the island routine over the past few years, and such patrols and exercises are becoming more intensive and combat-oriented with each secessionist provocation, the expert said.

The people on the island of Taiwan should know that the future of the island lies with national reunification rather than external forces, and that “Taiwan independence” is a dead end, experts said.