China reacts to US Taiwan visit with live fire military drills near island

China has shown its naval might by conducting live-firing drills around Taiwan.

Chinese state television showed footage of military drills conducted by the People's Liberation Army's Eastern Theatre Command near Taiwan on Wednesday.

The live-firing drills saw a number of Chinese navy ships involved, with a four-day exercise in waters on all sides of the island set to follow.

Twenty-one warplanes were also seen to take part in the military exercise, including 10 J-16 aircraft – a fourth-generation fighter jet complete with 12 air-to-air missiles, satellite-guided bombs, rockets and anti-ship and anti-radiation missiles.

The exercise also saw one KJ-500 Airborne Early Warning and Control aircraft take part.

Beijing announced the drills shortly after US speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi and other members of Congress touched down in Taipei – Taiwan's capital city.

Watch: Taiwan – US committed to military intervention if China invades.

In a short speech during a meeting with Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen, Ms Pelosi said the world "faces a choice between democracy and autocracy".

"America's determination to preserve democracy, here in Taiwan and around the world, remains ironclad," she said.

China claims Taiwan as its territory and opposes any engagement by Taiwanese officials with foreign governments.

Ms Pelosi's trip has heightened US-China tensions more than visits by other members of Congress because of her high-level position as leader of the House of Representatives. 

Watch: China shows further signs of ambition to be major maritime power.

She is the first speaker of the house to visit Taiwan in 25 years since Newt Gingrich in 1997.

Ms Tsai, thanking Ms Pelosi for her decades of support for Taiwan, presented the speaker with a civilian honour, the Order of the Propitious Clouds. 

She was more pointed about Chinese threats in her remarks than Ms Pelosi was.

"Facing deliberately heightened military threats, Taiwan will not back down," Ms Tsai said. 

"We will firmly uphold our nation's sovereignty and continue to hold the line of defence for democracy."