India, April 14 -- China on Wednesday described the People's Liberation Army's (PLA) exercises near self-ruled Taiwan as "combat drills" on a day former US officials arrived in Taipei symbolising Washington's commitment to the island that Beijing considers a breakaway region.

Former US senator Chris Dodd and former deputy secretaries of state Richard Armitage and James Steinberg arrived in Taiwan on Wednesday in an unmarked private jet, according to Reuters, in what a White House official called a "personal signal" of US President Joe Biden's commitment to Taiwan and its democracy.

The former senior American officials were due to meet Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen on Thursday, in a move certain to rile China.

In Beijing, China's Taiwan...