The ministry said some of the aircraft and ships crossed the sensitive median line in the Taiwan Strait that separates the island from mainland China.
“Our military issued warnings, deployed combat air patrols and naval vessels, and activated ground-based missile systems in response to the situation,” the ministry said.
China has yet to issue statements on the purpose of Saturday’s military drills.
Pelosi ignored vehement opposition to her visit by landing in Taipei on Tuesday afternoon as part of a larger tour of Asia that ended Friday with a final stop in Japan.
But the full implications of her visit are only now emerging, with China cutting off cooperation on a range of issues, worsening already strained US-China ties and stepping up exercises in the skies and waters around Taiwan.
On Friday, 68 Chinese warplanes were reported in the Taiwan Strait, according to Taiwan’s Defense Ministry. Of those, 49 entered Taiwan’s air defense identification zone — an airspace reserve commonly referred to as the ADIZ. That was just a few planes short of the record set last year, when 56 Chinese warplanes entered the ADIZ on the same day.
Nineteen of the warplanes on Friday also crossed the median line dividing the Taiwan Strait, the ministry said.
On Thursday, China launched 11 ballistic missiles — some of which flew over the island of Taiwan and landed in Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone, prompting Tokyo to file a formal complaint with Beijing. This was the first time China had sent missiles over the island.
Also on Thursday, two Chinese drones flew near Japan’s Okinawa Prefecture, prompting Japan’s Air Self-Defense Force to scramble fighter jets in response.
The drills are scheduled to last until Sunday local time in Beijing, according to Chinese state media.
Japan and other G7 economies have urged China to stop its exercises in the straits and maintain the status quo in the region.
China’s foreign ministry announced a series of countermeasures against the US on Friday, including sanctions against Pelosi and her family.
China has also suspended bilateral climate talks. cooperation on the repatriation of illegal immigrants, transnational crimes and drug operations; and legal assistance in criminal matters.
The White House accused China on Friday of “punishing the entire world” by ending climate cooperation, while the Defense Department said China “chose to overreact and use the speaker’s visit as a pretext to increase provocative military activity in and around the Taiwan Strait’.
John Kirby, communications coordinator at the National Security Council, said that all communication between the US and China had not been cut off and that some channels between senior leaders remained open — but added that the suspensions were still an “irresponsible act”.