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Taiwan news: China puts 'ring of steel' around island and cuts off all US talks; Taipei warns of 'firm action'

Taiwan latest as China announces it will sanction US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on her visit to the island, which says it is in a state of "combat readiness".

Image:A Chinese jet flies over the Taiwan Strait as part of military drills
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Taiwan condemns 'evil neighbour' China after missiles fired during military drills

Taiwan's premier has condemned China as the "evil neighbour next door" after its military began live firing drills around the island.

Su Tseng-chang told reporters in the capital Taipei he believed China was arbitrarily destroying the Taiwan Strait - the world's most frequently used waterway - with its military exercises, and its actions were being condemned by other neighbouring countries and the wider world.

Beijing admits there has been live firing but that it was "precision missile strikes" as part of exercises by its navy, air force and other departments in six zones surrounding the island.

Read more on this developing story in the link below...

China's response to Pelosi visit is 'irresponsible'

Karine Jean-Pierre, the White House press secretary, earlier told reporters that China's reaction to US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan is "irresponsible2.

Since Ms Pelosi travelled to Taipei this week, the Chinese military has launched unprecedented levels of drills around the Taiwan Strait.

As of this evening, it is understood some 100 warplanes and 10 warships were involved - and yesterday, missiles flew over the disputed region.

US has 'nothing to rectify' over Taiwan, says White House

More now from White House national security spokesperson John Kirby.

He said the US had nothing to rectify regarding House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's trip to Taiwan, which sparked a furious response from China.

Beijing has demanded that Washington fix its "mistakes" over the issue.

Mr Kirby said the US would like to see tensions with China come down immediately but that Beijing's move to suspend some communication channels was irresponsible.

Why was Nancy Pelosi's trip to Taiwan so controversial?

The US House Speaker's visit to Taiwan has seen China launch live-fire military exercises in the Taiwan Strait, sanctions and diplomatic tensions.

Check out our explainer on why the trip was so controversial and what it means for US-China relations. 

In pictures: Tourists look out for Chinese military drills

The photographs below are some of the latest to emerge from Liuqiu island in Taiwan, where people are gathering at the coast to catch a glimpse of Chinese warships.

It is understood 10 warships neared the Taiwan Strait on Friday - while upwards of 100 military jets took part in military drills by the Chinese.

UK's ability to train fast jet pilots in crisis as threats grow from Russia and China, leaked documents suggest

The UK's ability to train fast jet pilots is in crisis because of faulty aircraft, a need for more instructors and an influx of foreign students filling up the course, leaked documents suggest.

Royal Air Force (RAF) recruits are spending months - sometimes years - effectively flying desks instead of warplanes as they wait for training slots to open.

The delays could hamper the future availability of crews to operate frontline Typhoon and F35 squadrons at a time of growing threats from Russia and China and with a war raging in Europe, defence sources said.

Pilots earmarked to train on other aircraft, such as military transport planes and helicopters, are also suffering.

The backlog is so grave, the RAF is considering asking up to 30 of its recruits to quit voluntarily, one internal note said. It warned of a "reputational risk" if air chiefs took such a step. There is no suggestion of any forced redundancies.

Read more from our security and defence editor Deborah Haynes below...

What's the latest on tensions around Taiwan?

Retired Air Vice-Marshall Sean Bell has been providing Sky News with updates throughout today on the situation in Taiwan.

The Chinese military has launched unprecedented drills in the region following US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's trip to the Taiwanese islands earlier this week.

See what he had to say in the clip below..

US wants tensions with Beijing to 'come down immediately'

We've been hearing from White House spokesman John Kirby this evening, who has given the latest US perspective on the situation in Taiwan.

He said the US would like to see "tensions with Beijing come down immediately" after unprecedented Chinese military drills.

These came in response to US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's trip to Taiwan.

Mr Kirby added: "We see allies in the region expressing the same concerns regarding China's actions towards Taiwan."

He reiterated that the US is "not seeking to escalate tensions but will take steps to defend national interests and security commitments in the region".

Watch: Tourists spot Chinese military drills

China has said more than 100 warplanes and 10 warships have taken part in the live-fire military drills surrounding Taiwan this week.

Watch the moment tourists spotted the drills in the Taiwan Strait below...

Taiwan: 'China has jeopardised the stability of the region'

China has "jeopardised the stability and peace" of Taiwan and the region with military drills, the Taiwanese representative to the EU told Sky News.

Dr Tsai Ming-Yen said Taiwan is taking "important steps" to protect its national security in the wake of the aggression, which saw China fire missiles towards the island.

Dr Tsai added it is "very clear China is using Taiwan as an excuse to flex its muscles in the neighbourhood". 

"We will continue to set out our sovereignty."

Speaking about US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan, Dr Tsai said this "demonstrated the consensus in Congress to recognise Taiwan, as a democratic country we always welcome our friends to visit".

He adds: "Will not allow ourselves to be cut off from the international community by China's military intimidation."