Since the escalation of China’s aggressions toward Taiwan, this is the first time that the Taiwanese army is warning the Chinese Communist Party that it will shoot down Chinese drones.
Chinese drones began invading the Quemoy archipelago, also known as Kinmen, a few days ago and took photos and videos of Taiwanese soldiers at a military base. The photos were posted on Chinese social media, triggering a wave of pro-China and pro-CCP comments, as well as pointing out how easy it is for the CCP to obtain classified military information from the islands in the strait.
Taiwan warned the communist regime that if it continues to send drones to the archipelago, they will be immediately shot down. This is the first time Taiwan has warned China in this way. Tensions continue to rise following U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit, when the CCP responded with large-scale military exercises in the South China Sea and ballistic missiles flew over the island nation.
Days after Pelosi’s visit, Chinese drones flew over the small island of Quemoy, very close to China. A total of 19 People’s Liberation Army drones were spotted near Taiwan and flew over the area for five consecutive days.
In a video taken by one of the drones, Taiwanese soldiers are surprised by the drone and then threw stones at it. It appears that the drone that took the footage was not a People’s Liberation Army drone, but a civilian one. The drone also photographed the interior of the military base, as well as a map on a wall.
The Quemoy defense command confirmed that a civilian drone had flown over Erdan, just 4 km (2.5 miles) from the Chinese city of Xiamen. Taiwan issued a statement, saying that an unidentified object was seen flying briefly over the Lieyu area and was determined to be a civilian drone.
The statement said: “Troops followed standard operating procedures, fired warning flares, maintained surveillance and high alert.”
“We immediately sounded the siren and radioed a warning, the unmanned drone quickly returned to the waters on the Chinese side [of the strait],” said a commanding officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity. He added that they had only fired warning shots as the drone quickly returned to land after the initial warning. He further said that the photos and video had not revealed any key information and that “all important installations and military deployments are hidden.” He denied local media reports that the drone had been intercepted.
Based on these intrusions, Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense said it will deploy a remotely controlled anti-drone defense system that was developed by the Taiwan Academy of Sciences. The system will first be introduced on small islands and islets near China in response to threats of drone incursions and will be operational next year.
Taiwan’s military said it used warning shots to scare off the invading drones rather than shooting them down directly, in order to prevent further escalation of tensions in the Taiwan Strait.
However, the Kinmen Defense Command noted in a statement that while Taiwan’s military aims to prevent an escalation of the situation, it will take action to prevent drones or other aircraft from invading its airspace. The statement also accused the CCP of increasingly frequent drone harassment operations in recent weeks.
The statement said, “These repeated provocations pose a threat to Taiwan’s national defense and airspace security, and we will take necessary measures to stop them.” In addition, the Kinmen Defense Command also emphasized that if a drone flies over Kinmen and refuses to leave Taiwanese airspace despite warnings, it will be shot down by the military.
Recently, during a visit to air force facilities in the Penghu Islands, Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen said China had used “gray zone” tactics, such as drone intrusion, to continue its “military intimidation” against Taiwan.
She told troops stationed in the Taiwan Strait archipelago, “I want to tell everyone that the more provocative the enemy is, the calmer we have to be… We will not provoke a war and we will restrain ourselves, but that does not mean we will not react.”
Tsai added that she had ordered the Defense Ministry “to take necessary and forceful countermeasures at the appropriate time to defend the safety of our airspace.”
Zhao Lijian, spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry, said at a press conference Monday, August 29, that the outside world should not make a fuss about this.
Zhao said, “I also saw the video about that, Chinese drones flying over Chinese territory, it’s not something to make a fuss about.”
However, Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry later issued a press release sternly responding to Zhao’s comments.
“There is an ancient Chinese teaching that ‘people who are not invited are called thieves.’ Whether forcing the door or spying from the air, the people of Taiwan do not welcome such thieves,” it said in the statement.
White House National Security Council coordinator for Strategic Communications, John Kirby told reporters that China was still trying to establish a “new normal” with its “gray zone” actions toward Taiwan.
Kirby said: “They’re trying to raise the temperature to a degree where it becomes a kind of new normal.” He added: “We’re not going to accept that.”
Quemoy Island is part of Taiwan and was attacked in 1958 by communist forces during 44 days of intensive bombing. There was a cessation of attacks for a time and then the communist regime continued the attacks for years. In 1978, the United States established diplomatic ties with the Communist Party and the intensive bombing stopped.