China has stepped up its military exercises in Taiwanese waters and has announced sanctions against US President Nancy Pelosi as tensions between Beijing and Washington escalate.

The country’s foreign ministry has announced sanctions against Mrs Pelosi today after his visit to Taiwanwhich marked the first trip by a U.S. House Speaker to the island in 25 years.

Beijing branded the visit as “gross interference” in its internal affairs, while US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called the military response to the trip “blatantly provocative”.

China puts “steel ring” around Taiwan – real-time updates

Image:
The red boxes indicate where the Chinese military exercises are taking place

Ms. Pelosi’s visit prompted China to carry out military exercises in seven areas of the island, with over 100 warplanes and 10 warships taking part in the past two days.

US National Security spokesman John Kirby said the Chinese ambassador was summoned to the White House to protest the country’s military actions.

He added that although the United States does not want a crisis, it will not be deterred from operating in the seas and skies of the western Pacific.

Read more:
Taiwan condemns China, the “evil neighbor”.
Why Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan is so controversial

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Tourists watch Chinese military exercises

Taiwan will defend national security with ‘decisive action’

The military exercises have raised concern in Taiwan, as the defense ministry has warned China that it will defend its national security with “decisive action”.

He added that China has deliberately crossed Taiwan’s midline, which separates the self-governing island from China.

Retired Deputy Air Marshal Sean Bell described the Beijing exercises as a “steel ring” around the island.

He said any drill in Taiwan’s territorial waters could be “extremely provocative” if something goes wrong due to the use of real weapons near the island nation’s mainland.

Sky News expert analysis:
Adam Boulton: The growing rhetoric sparked by Pelosi’s visit
Deborah Haynes: Pelosi’s visit may be pointless and unnecessary

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Tension continues around Taiwan

While Taiwan declares itself an independent and democratic country with its own leader, constitution, political and military system, China sees it as a breakaway province that will eventually come back under its control, if necessary by force.

The military exercises have also caused disruption to shipping routes around Taiwan and airlines flying around and around the island, causing some to be canceled while others diverted.

Korean Airlines and Singapore Airlines said they canceled flights to and from Taipei on Friday due to the exercises, with the Korean airline also canceling Saturday flights and delaying Sunday flights.

Images from the FlightRadar24 flight tracking service show live flights avoiding the seven zones where military exercises take place.

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