Chinese military exercises near Taiwan have encroached on the island’s territory and amount to a blockade of its sea and air space, the defence ministry has said.

The exercises by the Chinese navy and air force are seen as a direct response to the visit to Taiwan of top US politician Nancy Pelosi, the most senior American politician to visit in 25 years.

The Taiwan Defence Ministry said China had broken UN rules and it would counter any incursions into its territory.

And it accused Beijing of using psychological warfare and urged people to report “fake news” to the authorities.

Ms Pelosi had earlier praised Taiwan for being “one of the freest societies in the world” as she addressed the self-ruled island’s parliament during the visit that has infuriated Beijing.

Ms Pelosi also met with Taiwan’s president Tsai Ing-wen in the capital Taipei on Wednesday.

Ms Tsai thanked Ms Pelosi for her concrete actions to support Taiwan and said the island will not back down in the face of heightened military threats.

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The Taiwanese leader also told Ms Pelosi she is one of the island’s most devoted friends and thanked her for her unwavering support on the international stage.

Ms Tsai added that Taiwan is a reliable partner of the United States and will continue to work with them to strengthen collaboration in security, economic development and supply chains.

The US house speaker’s unannounced visit to Taiwan has attracted fierce criticism from China and prompted Beijing to summon the US ambassador.

Ms Pelosi arrived in the capital Taipei late on Tuesday on an unannounced but closely watched trip, saying that it shows unwavering US commitment to the island that Beijing says is part of China.

“We commend Taiwan for being one of the freest societies in the world,” Ms Pelosi told Taiwan’s parliament.

She also said new U.S. legislation aimed at strengthening the American chip industry to compete with China “offers greater opportunity for US-Taiwan economic cooperation”.

A long-time China critic, especially on human rights, Ms Pelosi is set to meet with a former Tiananmen Square activist, a Hong Kong bookseller who had been detained by China, and a Taiwanese activist recently released by China, people familiar with the matter said.

While Ms Pelosi is not the first house speaker to go to Taiwan – Newt Gingrich visited in 1997 – her visit comes as relations between Beijing and Washington have deteriorated sharply, and with China a much more powerful economic, military and geopolitical force than it was a quarter of a century ago.

China considers Taiwan part of its territory and has never renounced using force to bring it under its control.

The United States has warned China against using Ms Pelosi’s visit as a pretext for military action against Taiwan.

Early on Wednesday, China’s customs department announced a suspension of imports of citrus fruits, chilled white striped hairtail and frozen horse mackerel from Taiwan.

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China warns US ‘those playing with fire will get burned’ as Nancy Pelosi visits self-rule island

On Tuesday, Beijing’s ambassador to London, one of his country’s most senior diplomats, warned the United States it is performing a “highly dangerous trick” over Taiwan and “those playing with fire will get burned”.

Zheng Zeguang made the comments in a press conference, hastily convened, to respond to the arrival of top US politician Nancy Pelosi in Taiwan in defiance of Chinese demands to stay away.

He said the visit by the US house speaker “seriously violated” a long-standing “One China” principle that means democratically-governed Taiwan must not be treated by the United States as an independent authority.

Mr Zheng also had a warning for the UK not to “dance to the tune” of the United States.