Pelosi defends Taiwan trip and status quo

STORY: U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has defended her high-profile visit to Taiwan earlier this week, claiming it was never intended to change the regional status quo but rather to preserve peace in the Taiwan Strait.

Speaking at a news conference in Tokyo on Friday, Pelosi acknowledged the Chinese military drills and missiles launches in waters around the island in the wake of her unannounced but highly anticipated visit.

She also further vowed not to isolate the self-ruled island claimed by Beijing.

"They (China) may try to keep Taiwan from visiting or participating in other places, but they will not isolate Taiwan by preventing us to travel there. We've had high-level visits -- senators in the spring, bi-partisan way, continuing visits, and we will not allow them to isolate Taiwan."

Pelosi's stop in Taiwan marks the highest-level visit by a U.S. official in 25 years, where she met with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen and praised the island's democracy and human rights record.

Beijing was quick to condemn Pelosi's trip, which also took her through Singapore, Malaysia and South Korea before ending in Japan, one of Washington's closest allies.

Five of the missiles fired off by Beijing this week landed in Japan's exclusive economic zone, prompting further warnings from Tokyo that increasing Chinese military activity in the Taiwan Strait threatens both national and wider regional security.

China's military exercises near Taiwan have further disrupted key shipping lanes and prompted several commercial airlines to reroute or cancel their flights around the island for the time being.

In response to the increasing military action nearby, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen said Taiwan would not provoke conflicts but would firmly defend its sovereignty and national security. Premier Su Tseng-chang had stronger words, referring to China as the quote "evil neighbor showing off her power at our door."