BEIJING (BLOOMBERG, REUTERS) – China warned airlines operating in Asia to avoid flying in areas around Taiwan where it is conducting military exercises in response to US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the island.

An official notice was sent late on Tuesday (Aug 2) Hong Kong time, designating six areas of airspace as “danger zones”, according to carriers who received the message and Mr Jang Chang-seog, a South Korean transport ministry official. Flights will be restricted from 12pm on Thursday (Aug 4) to 12pm on Sunday.

Mrs Pelosi flew to Taipei late on Tuesday as the highest-ranking American politician to visit Taiwan in 25 years, prompting China to condemn the visit and unveil a series of economic and military responses.

China considers the island, a vibrant democracy and a key supplier of semiconductors, as a renegade province to be reunified, by force if necessary.

Taiwan remains the most sensitive issue between the United States and China, with the potential to one day spark a military conflict.

In a statement on Wednesday, Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that China’s provocative actions of intentionally increasing its military activities aimed at Taiwan “have been challenging international order and damaging peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait”.

It added: “The People’s Liberation Army announcing live-fire drills and demanding that other nations’ aircraft and vessels to stay clear of specific airspace and territorial waters have been especially harmful to international trade and economic exchanges, as well as international law and order.”

It also said that the Taiwanese government will continue to actively boost Taiwan’s self-defence capabilities and also maintain close communication and negotiations with likeminded countries such as the US, “to safeguard the international order that is founded on rules and prevent the regional situation from escalating, thus ensuring safety across the Taiwan Strait, as well as peace, stability and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region”.

The ministry also reiterated that Taiwan and China do not belong to one another, adding that the Taiwanese government will continue to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity.