China is staging war games along its east coast facing Taiwan just days before the inauguration of the self-governing island's new independence-leaning president.

The Defense Ministry said Wednesday the air, land and sea drills were aimed at testing and upgrading the ability to respond to security threats and complete military missions.

While the statement said the drills were unrelated to current events, China has maintained its threat to use force to achieve its goal of absorbing Taiwan. Beijing has warned that the failure by Taiwanese President-elect Tsai to explicitly endorse the view that Taiwan and the mainland are both part of a single Chinese nation would undermine delicate relations between the sides.

Chinese state media said the drills involved mock landing operations and the use of attacks helicopter and tanks.