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INTERNATIONAL

China Fires Missiles Near Taiwan After Pelosi Visit

China has fired missiles near Taiwan as part of huge military drills following a visit by senior us politician Nancy Pelosi to the island.

Taiwan said China launched 11 ballistic missiles into waters around Taiwan's North-East and South-West coasts.

Japan said five Chinese missiles landed in its waters as well, calling for an "immediate stop" to the exercises.

China saw the visit; by the US House Speaker Mrs. Pelosi, as a challenge to its claims of sovereignty over Taiwan.

It sees Taiwan as a breakaway province that will eventually be brought under its control - by force if necessary.

The U.S. for its part does not officially recognize Taiwan, which has for all practical purposes been independent since 1950. However, Washington maintains a strong relationship with the island - which includes selling weapons for Taiwan to defend itself.