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UPDATE 1-U.S. summons Chinese ambassador to protest military actions -Kirby

·1 min read

(Adds quotes quotes backgroun)

WASHINGTON, Aug 5 (Reuters) - The United States summoned China's ambassador to the White House to lodge a protest against actions it called irresponsible and at odds with maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, national security spokesman John Kirby said on Friday.

China launched its largest ever military drills in the seas and skies around Taiwan on Thursday, a day after U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Pelosi enraged Beijing by becoming the highest-level U.S. visitor to the island in 25 years. The live-fire drills are scheduled to continue until noon on Sunday.

The White House summonded Ambassador Qin Gang on Thursday, the White House said.

The United States condemned China's actions, which it called irresponsible and at odds with maintaining peace across the Taiwan Strait.

"We also made clear that the United States is prepared for what Beijing chooses to do. We will not seek and do not want a crisis," Kirby said.

"At the same time, we will not be deterred from operating in the seas and skies of the Western Pacific, consistent with international law, as we have for decades – supporting Taiwan and defending a free and open Indo-Pacific." (Reporting by Jeff Mason, Writing by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Toby Chopra and Christina Fincher)