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TAIPEI, Taiwan — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) met with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen and other lawmakers Wednesday, defying threats from Beijing to retaliate over the visit and raising fears of a military crisis in the Taiwan Strait.

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White House officials warned that China is preparing itself for possible aggressive actions in response to Pelosi’s visit beyond this week. The Chinese Defense Ministry on Tuesday announced large-scale military exercises in areas around Taiwan soon after the speaker landed in Taipei.

“There’s no reason … for Beijing to turn this visit, which is consistent with long-standing U.S. policy, into some sort of crisis,” White House spokesman John Kirby told reporters at a briefing Tuesday. “We are prepared to manage what Beijing chooses to do. At the same time, we will not engage in saber-rattling.”

China’s claims over Taiwan form a core part of the ideology of the ruling Communist Party. Beijing sees official visits by high-ranking foreigners as lending support to pro-independence camps and giving credence to the idea of Taiwan as a sovereign nation. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Tuesday at a meeting in Shanghai that U.S. politicians “playing with fire” on the issue of Taiwan would “come to no good end,” according to a transcript released by the Foreign Ministry.