Just a day after Taiwan issued its ultimatum on Chinese drones incursions, the self-governed island has reportedly fired warning shots for the first time at a drone near its offshore island.
On Monday, Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense said the country would “shoot down intruding Chinese drones that fail to heed warnings.” This comes after efforts to deploy undisclosed drone defense systems across the territory.
President Tsai Ing-wen echoed these sentiments, saying the island would show restraint amid the incursions by Chinese drones, but could take “strong countermeasures” if needed.
“I want to tell everyone that the more the enemy provokes, the more calm we must be,” Tsai told naval officers. “We will not provoke disputes, and we will exercise self-restraint, but it does not mean that we will not counter.”
These moves follow the altercation between Taiwanese military and a Chinese drone at the Kinmen Islands. The island group is governed by Taiwan but is located just off the southeastern coast of mainland China–part of what it recognizes as a gray zone.
Taiwan has been raising alarms about the increasing presence of Chinese drones on these areas. But Beijing has since dismissed these protests.
“Chinese drones flying about Chinese territory, this is not something to make a fuss about,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said.
It is still unclear what equipment Taiwan used to fire off its warning shots but this could range from flare signals–as what Taipei would often use–to other non-kinetic options.
Chinese-Taiwan conflict intensified recently after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made a state visit to Taipei. The controversial visit was taken by Beijing as a violation of diplomatic relations between US and China, adding a fear that the West might be supporting Taiwan in its battle for independence–hence, a secessionist military campaign against the mainland.
Aside from installing a temporary blockade on the strait between China and Taiwan, Beijing also cut cooperation and military ties with the US.
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