US Speaker Nancy Pelosi has left Taiwan after a brief but controversial visit.

Ms Pelosi departed today after meeting leaders in the capital Taipei.

But her visit, as part of a wider Asian tour, sparked fury in Beijing after she ignored its warnings not to travel to the island.

In a statement following the visit, Ms Pelosi said China cannot prevent world leaders or anyone from travelling to Taiwan to pay respect to its flourishing democracy or highlight its many successes.

In response to the trip, China announced what it called “necessary and just” military drills in seas around 10 miles from Taiwan.

The exercises, which will begin on Thursday and last for five days, will take place in some of the world’s busiest waterways and will include “long-range live ammunition shooting”.

China’s defence ministry has admitted that some exercises may breach Taiwan’s territorial waters. 

Taiwan has asked ships to find alternative routes to avoid the drills and is negotiating with neighbouring Japan and the Philippines to find alternative aviation routes.