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BEIJING/TAIPEI: China insisted Wednesday its military exercises around the Taiwan Strait were “necessary and just” in the wake of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the self-ruled island.

“The Chinese military’s conducting of military exercises in the sea near China’s Taiwan are a necessary and just measure to resolutely protect national sovereignty,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a regular briefing.

The United States wants Taiwan to always have freedom with security and will not back away from that, US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Wednesday, during a visit to Taipei fiercely criticized by China.

While respecting the “One China” policy, our solidarity with Taiwan is more important than ever, Pelosi said, during a joint news conference with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen. The US supports the status quo and does not want anything to happen to Taiwan by force, Pelosi added.

Asked about the economic consequences Taiwan has to face as a result of her visit, Pelosi said the US’ chips act opens the door for better economic exchanges between the United States and Taiwan.

Taiwan is committed to maintaining the status quo across the Taiwan strait, Tsai said, adding that China’s military exercises, launched in response to Pelosi’s visit are an unnecessary reaction.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi meanwhile vowed Wednesday to punish those who offend Beijing, state media reported, as the country seethes over Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan.

“This is a complete farce. The United States is violating China’s sovereignty under the guise of so-called ‘democracy’… those who offend China will be punished,” Wang said on the sidelines of a meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Phnom Penh.