TAIPEI, Aug 3 (NBC News) - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi departed Taiwan on Wednesday after a whirlwind visit that captured global attention and further strained relations between the United States and China.

Before boarding a plane to leave the island at around 6 a.m. ET, Pelosi vowed solidarity with the self-ruling democracy that Beijing claims as its territory while China launched military drills, summoned the U.S. ambassador and halted some imports from Taiwan in a display of angry protest at her visit.

“Our delegation came here to send an unequivocal message: America stands with Taiwan,” Pelosi said at a news conference in Taipei after meeting with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen.

Beijing had warned against the Pelosi visit for weeks, issuing threats that raised fears of a new crisis in the region between the world’s two biggest economies. As soon as she touched down Tuesday, Chinese officials unleashed a barrage of furious statements and announced plans for military exercises starting immediately.

On Wednesday, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson criticized Pelosi’s visit as a “political farce.”

“It is Pelosi who is grandstanding, but it is bilateral relations and regional peace and stability that will suffer,” Hua Chunying said.

Some of the additional military drills planned for later this week will take place within Taiwan’s sea and air territory, a move the island democracy denounced as a serious violation that amounted to land and naval blockades.

Both Pelosi and Tsai said they were committed to maintaining the status quo, under which the United States recognizes Beijing as the sole legitimate government of China but maintains unofficial relations with Taiwan.

“We want Taiwan to always have freedom with security, and we’re not backing away from that,” Pelosi said.

Tsai thanked the U.S. delegation, which includes five other House Democratic lawmakers, for visiting “under such challenging circumstances,” calling the Chinese military exercises “unnecessary.”

China views Pelosi’s visit as highly provocative because of her status as a high-ranking official. While U.S. lawmakers and other current and former government officials regularly visit Taiwan, Pelosi is the first House speaker to visit the island since Newt Gingrich in 1997.