China’s military has promised to “crush” any efforts to promote Taiwan’s independence, a day before a crucial election on the self-ruled island which Beijing claims is part of its territory.

Hundreds of thousands of people attended final pre-election rallies in Taiwan on Friday in advance of critical presidential and parliamentary polls on Saturday.

“The Chinese People’s Liberation Army maintains high vigilance at all times and will take all necessary measures to firmly crush ‘Taiwan independence’ attempts of all forms,” China’s defence ministry spokesperson Zhang Xiaogang said in a statement.