U.S. House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi met with Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen on Wednesday during a visit to the island that had drawn Beijing’s ire.
Pelosi also visited the Taiwan parliament during the trip, which made her the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit the island in 25 years.
Beijing viewed the self-governing island as a breakaway territory that would one day be reunited with the mainland and warned the U.S. against allowing Pelosi to visit.
In response to her arrival late Tuesday, China launched military exercises in six areas in the waters surrounding Taiwan.
They were expected to include long-range live-fire exercises and last through Sunday.
The manouevres were seen as the biggest show of military muscle from Beijing since the 1995 Taiwan Strait crisis, when China fired missiles over Taiwan and the U.S. dispatched two aircraft carrier groups.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry summoned the U.S. ambassador to China, Nicholas Burns, early Wednesday to protest Pelosi’s visit as a “serious provocation and violation” of the one-China principle.
China also sent 21 planes into Taiwan’s air defence identification zone on Tuesday alone, the Defence Ministry in Taipei said.
Taiwan, which had 23 million inhabitants, has long considered itself independent.