China announces military exercises as Pelosi's possible trip to Taiwan looms

China announces military exercises as Pelosi's possible trip to Taiwan looms

BEIJING — China said it was conducting military exercises Saturday off its coast opposite Taiwan after warning Speaker Nancy Pelosi

of the U.S. House of Representatives to scrap possible plans to visit the island democracy, which Beijing claims as part of its territory.

The ruling Communist Party's military wing, the People's Liberation Army, was conducting "live-fire exercises"

 near the Pingtan islands off Fujian province from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., the official Xinhua News Agency said

 The Maritime Safety Administration warned ships to avoid the area.

Such exercises usually involve artillery. The one-sentence announcement gave no indication whether Saturday's

exercise also might include missiles, fighter planes or other weapons.

Pelosi, who would be the highest-ranking American elected official to visit Taiwan since 1997

has yet to confirm whether she will go. President Xi Jinping warned his U.S. counterpart, Joe Biden, in a phone call Thursday against "external interference" in Beijing's dealings with the island.