Will firmly defend national security: Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen to China
- Nancy Pelosi was the highest-profile US official to visit Taiwan
- China, in retaliation, launched a series of exercises in multiple zones around Taiwan
- Taipei did not say where the missiles landed or whether they flew over the island
The Taiwanese president also urged the international community to jointly stop unilateral and irrational military actions.
China, in retaliation, launched a series of exercises in multiple zones around Taiwan, putting a halt on some of the busiest shipping lanes in the world and at some points just 20 kilometres (12 miles) from the island's shore.
The Chinese military reportedly said that the military drills began around 12 noon local time (0400 GMT), and involved a "conventional missile firepower assault" in waters to the east of Taiwan.
Taiwan said the Chinese military fired 11 Dongfeng-class ballistic missiles "in several batches" and condemned the exercises as "irrational actions that undermine regional peace".
Taipei did not say where the missiles landed or whether they flew over the island.
Japan, meanwhile, lodged a diplomatic protest with Beijing over the exercises, with Defence Minister Nobuo Kishi saying five of the ballistic missiles fired by China were believed to have landed in his country's exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
Beijing has defended the drills as "necessary and just", pinning the blame for the escalation on the United States and its allies.
"In the face of this blatant provocation, we have to take legitimate and necessary countermeasures to safeguard the country's sovereignty and territorial integrity," foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a regular briefing Thursday.
Speaking to Beijing's state broadcaster CCTV, military analysts said that the goal was to practice a possible blockade of the island and contain its pro-independence forces.
"The purpose is to show that the PLA is capable of controlling all the exits of the Taiwan Island, which will be a great deterrent to 'Taiwan independence' secessionist forces," Zhang Junshe, a senior researcher at China's Naval Research Institute, said.
"The operations are conducted in an unprecedentedly close range to the Taiwan Island," Meng Xiangqing, a military expert, stressed.
Taiwan's Maritime and Port Bureau has issued warnings to ships to avoid the areas being used for the Chinese drills.