Taiwan’s Kinmen Island Defense Command confirmed that today, Sept. 1, at 12:30 p.m. local time, it shot down an unidentified drone that entered the airspace without authorization.

The drone, reportedly operated by civilians, entered restricted waters near Shiyu and was shot down by troops based on the island after it failed to heed warnings, according to Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense.

It is the first time Taiwan has shot down a drone flying over its territory.

The Taiwan government pointed out that in the face of continued intrusion by CCP drones, the national military has always adhered to the basic principles of not starting war lightly and not escalating conflict. However, as of Aug. 30, several Chinese drones were successively invading Dalian and Erdan islands, and Taiwanese troops carried out live-ammunition shooing operations for the first time.

However, the warning signals had no effect, so the Taiwanese military shot down the drone, and its wreckage fell into the sea. 

Last Tuesday, the Kinmen Defense Command had to use warning fire against a drone that flew over the area, shortly after President Tsai Ing-wen ordered the military to take “strong countermeasures” against what she called Chinese provocations in the “gray zone.”

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a news conference late Monday that “no one should make a fuss about it.”

“I also saw the video about that, Chinese drones flying over Chinese territory, it’s not something to make a fuss about,” Zhao Lijian said, dismissing Taiwan’s complaints. As reported by Reuters, China’s Foreign Ministry referred the matter to the Defense Ministry, which has yet to comment.

Chiu Chui-cheng, deputy head of the Mainland Affairs Council, which drafts China’s Taiwan policy, told reporters in Taipei that Taiwan has the legal authority to take “necessary defense measures” since Chinese aircraft are not allowed into Kinmen airspace. These defense measures include forcing aircraft to depart or land, he said.

In addition, Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense reported that 14 Chinese military aircraft flew over the Taiwan Strait today and passed the maritime median line boundary, which serves as an unofficial territorial barrier. 

The Chinese People’s Liberation Army launched a large-scale military exercise in the Taiwan Strait in early August to counter the visit to Taiwan by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. After the military exercise, military intimidation actions with PLA fighter jets and warships continued against Taiwan. In addition, in the past week, several Chinese civilian drones frequently invaded the airspace of Taiwan’s outer islands, such as Kinmen and Matsu.

During a visit to the Penghu Islands on Aug. 30, Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen rebuked China’s use of drones and other “gray zone” tactics for harassing Taiwan. She also called on the Taiwanese military to remain calm in the face of China’s provocations and said, “we will not make excuses for China” to create a conflict. However, Tsai Ing-wen also warned that “the national army’s self-restraint does not mean it will not react to aggression.”

“Let our soldiers protect the country without fear and with solid confidence,” the president added.

She also said he ordered Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense to take strong countermeasures to “defend the security of the national airspace.”

On Aug. 31, Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense said 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.”

“In the case of aircraft and ships entering our 12-nautical-mile sea and air territory, the national military will exercise the right of self-defense and counterattack without exception,” Lin Wen-Huang, deputy chief of Taiwan’s General Staff for operations and planning, told reporters.

Lin added that the Taiwanese military would exercise the same right to counterattack Chinese drones that did not heed warnings to leave Taiwan’s territory after posing a threat.

In a recently released report, the Taiwanese Defense Ministry said the PLA conducts military exercises to simulate attacks against U.S. warships.

The United States has a constant presence with warships in the South China Sea, sometimes near Chinese-controlled islands, and also across the Taiwan Strait.

In the report mentioned above, Taiwan said China was continuing to strengthen its combat readiness for an attack on the island and was focusing on the first island chain, which runs from Japan through Taiwan, the Philippines and up to Borneo, bordering the China Seas. 

The report said China could launch electromagnetic attacks to disrupt communications and command systems.

The Taiwanese ministry said China stepped up its military provocation since early this year, including drills intended to attack Taiwan’s morale and “force negotiations with a war” and “force a unification with weapons.”

China said the U.S. bears the primary responsibility for diminishing the “negative influence” left by Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan.

“The U.S. side should dispel Pelosi’s negative influence by shielding Taiwan, this is an indispensable condition of China-U.S. cooperation on climate change,” China’s Foreign Ministry said in a written statement sent to Reuters.

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