China pressed ahead with military drills near Taiwan and flew drones close to Japan on Friday, escalating tensions in the strait that have threatened to boil over since Taipei welcomed US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on a historic visit.

Taiwan's defense ministry said Chinese warships and aircraft continued drills in waters around the island, adding that Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) forces crossed the median line -- the halfway point between the island and mainland China -- in a move it called a "highly provocative act."

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CNN's Gawon Bae and Yong Xiong in Seoul, Emiko Jozuka in Tokyo, Laura He in Hong Kong, Eric Cheung in Taipei, and Sam Fossum in Washington contributed to this report.

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