China has branded a landmark visit to Taiwan by U.S Speaker Nancy Pelosi as “extremely dangerous”.

It accused Mrs Pelosi, the most senior US politician in 25 years to visit the island China claims as its own, of “playing with fire”.

“Those who play with fire will perish by it,” Beijing warned in a statement.

Mrs Pelosi said her visit “honours America’s unwavering commitment to supporting Taiwan’s vibrant democracy” and did not contradict US policy.

As her plane touched down, Chinese state media reported that its military jets were crossing the Taiwan strait. Taiwan denied those reports at the time – but later said that more than 20 Chinese military planes had entered its air defence zone yesterday.

China – which sees Taiwan as a breakaway province which will one day reunite with it – has previously warned that its armed forces “will not stand idly by”.

Within an hour of the plane’s arrival, it announced that the People’s Liberation Army will conduct a series of live-fire military drills in the air and at sea around Taiwan later this week – warning ships and aircraft not to enter the affected areas.

Credit/BBC

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