At the same time, the United States is looking to shore up its ties with other Asian countries, as a counterweight to China’s regional and global influence. On Saturday, Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken met with the president of the Philippines, Ferdinand Marcos Jr., in Manila. In a public exchange, Mr. Marcos told Mr. Blinken that he did not think Ms. Pelosi’s visit had “raised the intensity” of tensions in the region, which he said had already been high — an apparent rebuttal to China’s claims that the United States was responsible for the current frictions.
Fears that China would seek to physically prevent Ms. Pelosi’s visit were unrealized. But American officials remain concerned that the exercises, which began less than 24 hours after she left Taiwan, could still escalate, intentionally or accidentally, into more direct conflict.
Chinese officials, who have encouraged swaggering and at times virulent nationalism at home, may feel pressure to show that they are putting on a strong response. Some Chinese social media users have expressed disappointment or embarrassment that the government did not go further to prevent Ms. Pelosi’s visit; some made it clear that they had been expecting military action.
Even if the drills do not directly escalate into a full-blown crisis, they could signal a new pattern of aggression and incursions by the Chinese military. The Global Times, a state-run tabloid, said in an editorial on Friday that the work of promoting reunification with Taiwan had “entered a new stage.”
The United States has tried to avoid provoking China further. It has said that it remains committed to the status quo in Taiwan, acknowledging China’s stated claim to the island without recognizing it. The Pentagon ordered the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan to “remain on station” in the region, while maintaining some distance from the Taiwan Strait.