FOREIGN Secretary Liz Truss has criticised China’s “inflammatory” response to a senior US politician’s visit to Taiwan.

Tensions with China have been heightened by US House speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to the island.

Beijing responded by announcing multiple military exercises around the island, parts of which will enter Taiwanese waters.

China claims Taiwan as its territory and opposes any engagement by Taiwanese officials with foreign governments.

Truss, speaking on a Conservative Party leadership campaign visit in Ludlow, Shropshire, said: “I do not support China’s inflammatory language on this issue.

“It’s perfectly reasonable what is taking place and I urge China to de-escalate.”

Conservative MP Alicia Kearns said the Chinese Communist Party has tried to make Pelosi’s visit a “flashpoint”, telling BBC Radio 4’s World At One: “Because they’ve placed this enormous strategic importance on the visit when they could actually have just dismissed it out of hand as nothing more than a political stunt or a low-level delegation.

“But they’re choosing to use it to draw a line in the sand and I think that shows how worried they are and how important this is for Xi Jinping as he attempts to reconsolidate his position going into the 20th national congress of the Chinese Communist Party.”

Kearns confirmed the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, of which she is a member, intends to visit Taiwan later this year.

She said: “I think the reason for going, and it was me that suggested that we should visit as a Foreign Affairs Committee, is we visit allies all over the world, we also visit our friends and we try to understand the biggest issues facing our country and also international security.”