Taipei: Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen on Wednesday said that the island would "not back down" as a furious China geared up for military drills in retaliation for the visit of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
"Facing deliberately heightened military threats, Taiwan will not back down. We will... continue to hold the line of defence for democracy," Tsai said at an event with Pelosi in Taipei.
Tsai on Wednesday hosted Pelosi with China prepping up for military exercises dangerously close to the island's shores in retaliation for the visit.
Tsai thanked Pelosi for "taking concrete actions to show your staunch support for Taiwan at this critical moment".
Meanwhile, China responded swiftly over the Pelosi's visit to Taiwan and warned the US ambassador in Beijing of "extremely serious consequences" and announcing military drills around Taiwan.
Despite a slew of threats from China, Pelosi landed in Taiwan on Tuesday. Speaking at the event today, the US House Speaker said: "Today, our delegation... came to Taiwan to make unequivocally clear we will not abandon our commitment to Taiwan."
China tries to keep Taiwan isolated on the world stage and opposes countries having official exchanges with Taipei.
Pelosi, second in line to the presidency, is the highest-profile elected US official to visit Taiwan in 25 years.
At an earlier event, Pelosi said her delegation had come "in friendship to Taiwan" and "in peace to the region".
The Chinese foreign ministry summoned US Ambassador Nicholas Burns moments after Pelosi — who is on a tour of Asia —— touched down Taiwan on Tuesday night in a military aircraft after days of speculation about her plans. Her visit "is extremely egregious in nature and the consequences are extremely serious", China's Vice Foreign Minister Xie Feng told Burns, news agency Xinhua stated.
Will launch a series of targeted military actions in response: China
The Chinese military said it was on "high alert" and would "launch a series of targeted military actions in response" to Taiwan visit of Pelosi.
The drills will include "long-range live ammunition shooting" in the Taiwan Strait, which separates the island from mainland China and straddles vital shipping lanes.
The zone of Chinese exercises will be within 20 kilometres (12 miles) of Taiwan's shoreline at some points, according to coordinates released by the Chinese military.
Taiwan's defence ministry described the drills as "an attempt to threaten our important ports and urban areas, and unilaterally undermine regional peace and stability".
Tokyo, a key US ally in the region, said Wednesday it had expressed concern to China over the drills, saying the zone used for the exercises overlaps Japan's exclusive economic zone.
With inputs from AFP