In the month of October, Taiwan celebrated its National Day with more than 500 drones flying over the accompanying the celebration. But recently a report revealed that these drones were manufactured in China. the official Lu Ming-che, exposed in Taiwan’s legislature the origin of the drones and demanded an investigation because of the risks posed to Taiwan.
Lu denounced that the almost 600 drones that illuminated the night on October 10, and formed the Taiwan flag with the slogan, “Protect the territory and defend the country”, were state-of-the-art Emo drones manufactured in Shenzhen, China.
According to the report, Taiwan Hope Innovation Company, known as the Taiwan Light, now under investigation, was in charge of the drone equipment that was part of the celebrations that day.
Lu explained the worrisome risk to which President Tsai Ing-wen, lawmakers, military officials who were on site at the celebration were exposed.
Lu said, “You get a drone in Kinmen and rush to destroy it at all costs. But you get 500, or 600 drones flying above the president and the legislative speaker, and nobody knows it.”
In response, Prime Minister Su Tseng-chang said he will launch an investigation to find out how Chinese drones ended up being part of the celebration.
Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng allayed concerns that Chinese-made civilian drones could pose a security risk even if the military were to use them.
Chiu said, “Our military drones are developed by the National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology. We can use civilian drones too, and we have incorporated some into the military.”
He added, “But in that case, there are several rules. The first is that they cannot be made in China. The second is that anything related to classified information must follow our regulations.”
The Chung-Shan National Institute of Science and Technology, which manufactures the military drones, has strict rules for the use of drones, including that such drones cannot be made with Chinese funds, nor can they be manufactured in China.
So far, the Civil Aviation Administration of China has found no import records for these drones, so they are suspected to be smuggled.
Apparently, the drones could have stolen classified information, as it is known that since 2019 Chinese drones are considered an espionage tool of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), for this reason, the investigation is of utmost importance for Taiwan.
Drones manufactured in China can steal data
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in 2019 issued a report revealing that Chinese-made drones can send sensitive data to the Chinese Communist Party.
The drones are a “potential risk to an organization’s information,” the alert from DHS’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency stated. The products “contain components that can compromise your data and share your information on a server accessed.”
Although the report does not name any specific manufacturer, 80% of Chinese drones are based in Shenzhen.
The DHS warning report explains that many devices such as Chinese-made drones and unmanned aircraft systems can collect and transfer data on operations, people, and entities, because the CCP compels its citizens to support national intelligence activities. These drones can serve such a function.
The DHS warning, stems from an order signed by former President Donald Trump at the time, after banning U.S. companies from using telecommunications equipment manufactured by the Chinese company Huawei, accused of espionage.
In addition, the DHS warned users to “exercise caution when purchasing” drones from China and to take precautionary measures such as turning off the device’s Internet connection and removing secure digital cards.
If it is confirmed that the drones used during the National Day celebration are Chinese-made, Taiwan may have suffered the theft of information and data by the CCP.
Chinese regime intimidation through drones
Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said China has increased its military provocations since the beginning of this year, aiming to “force negotiations with a war” and “force a unification through arms.”
Provocations to Taiwan by the Chinese regime have increased with the intrusion of 30 drones flying over the island nation’s airspace since the visit of U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi last August.
Jie Zhong, an analyst at the National Foundation for Taiwan Policy Research, said, “China is using these harassments to increase the pressure on us and then deliberately to raise some tensions around Taiwan.” He added, “Just because it’s a civilian drone doesn’t mean it has nothing to do with military purposes.”
Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense reported that in May this year it approved a budget of $146 million to purchase drone defense systems designed by the National Chung Shan Institute of Science and Technology (NCSIST).
The agency stated on August 31, that, in addition to strict control of Chinese drones entering Taiwan’s airspace, it is necessary to assess the threat and exercise the “right to counterattack in self-defense.”
Currently, the threats stem directly from the unauthorized entry of drones into Taiwan’s airspace.
On September 1, the Kinmen Island Defense Command had to act for the first time and shoot down an unidentified drone that entered the airspace without authorization.
The civilian drone entered restricted waters near Shiyu and troops shot it down after several warnings, according to Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense.
It is known that the latest generation of Chinese drones can act as spies, record and steal classified information. What will be the consequences for Taiwan, of such a great interference of the CCP?