US Speaker Nancy Pelosi has met Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen in a visit that has been strongly condemned by China.

Pelosi, the most senior US politician in 25 years to visit Taiwan, said her delegation had come to make it “unequivocally clear” that the US would not “abandon” the island.

China had earlier said the US would “pay the price” for Pelosi’s visit.

Taiwan is self-ruled, but China sees it as a breakaway province that will eventually unite with it.

Taiwan has become yet another flash point amid heightened tensions and sharp rhetoric between Washington and Beijing in recent years, with the US walking a diplomatic tightrope on the issue.

Pelosi’s visit is viewed by Beijing as yet another sign of support for Taiwan.

In her meeting with Tsai at the presidential office, Pelosi called Taiwan an “inspiration to all freedom-loving people.”

Ms Tsai similarly praised the partnership between both places, saying Taiwan remained a “trustworthy and reliable partner of the US”.

She says Taiwan was “facing deliberately heightened military threats”, adding that it “would not back down and that Taiwan will do whatever it takes to strengthen its self-defence capabilities”.