WASHINGTON, July 29 (AFP) - President Joe Biden's administration tried on Friday (Jul 29) to defuse heated Chinese warnings against a possible trip to Taiwan by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, as Beijing announced live-fire military drills in the Taiwan Strait.

Pelosi is reportedly about to leave on an Asian tour that would include Taiwan - although she pointedly refused to confirm on Friday that she would visit the island citing travel security considerations.

China sees any such stop by the speaker as a provocation, upsetting the tense status quo under which Washington formally recognises China's sovereignty claim over the island, while backing the democratic Taiwanese government.

"We have many differences when it comes to Taiwan, but over the past 40-plus years, we have managed those differences and done it in a way that has preserved peace and stability and has allowed the people on Taiwan to flourish," Secretary of State Antony Blinken said.

"It would be important as part of our shared responsibility to continue to manage this in a wise way that doesn't create the prospect for conflict and keeping open lines of communication on this issue."

The temperature has been steadily rising in Beijing over the prospect of a Pelosi trip.

A day after Chinese leader Xi Jinping told Biden in a lengthy phone call that the United States shouldn't "play with fire" when it comes to Taiwan, the communist country's state-run media announced drills in the region Saturday.

"Live ammunition will be fired ... between 8am and 9pm and any entry (into these waters) will be prohibited", said a government statement.

The statement did not mention Pelosi. Also, the location of the exercise is just off mainland China's shore, rather than out at sea in the straits nearer to Taiwan.

However, there appears to be little doubt in the messaging.

While US officials often make discreet visits to the island in a show of support for its democratic self-ruling government, Pelosi is second in line to the US presidency and one of the country's most powerful politicians.

Pelosi, who would be travelling on US military aircraft during her Asia tour, told reporters Friday that she planned the trip because of the Biden administration's "strong emphasis" on the Asia-Pacific region.

But she continued to refuse to confirm or deny plans for a stop in Taiwan. "I don't ever talk about my travels, because some of you know, it's a security issue," she said.