Taiwan Shoots Down Drone Off Chinese Coast For The First Time
After two prior episodes in as many consecutive days which saw Taiwan military outposts on outlying islands fire warning shots against intruding unidentified drones, a fresh incident Thursday has resulted in an unidentified civilian drone being shot down near the Chinese mainland.
“The Jinmen Defense Command of the Army stated that at 12:30 p.m. today, an unidentified civilian aerial camera was found to enter the airspace over the restricted waters of Shiyu Island,” Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said. “The Ministry of Defense will continue to search, monitor, and monitor closely to maintain the security of the defence area.”
Like the prior incidents which just resulted in warning shots, the drone entered restricted waters near one of the Kinmen islands just off the Chinese mainland.
Thursday’s drone shootdown took place a distance of a mere minutes by boat ride from the Chinese coast, which has caused some pundits to question whether these incidents have involved civilian operated hobby drones from the mainland’s Fujian.
Shi Islet is the smallest Taiwanese island which has long had military personnel stationed on it, and is virtually a rock sticking out of the sea lying just northwest of Taiwan’s Lesser Kinmen.
As Reuters details, this is being widely viewed as likely part of a stepped-up Chinse harassment and pressure campaign against Taiwan since Nancy Pelosi’s August 2nd visit:
Since mid-August, a number of civilian drones have been spotted flying over the outlying island of Kinmen, 180 kilometres from Taiwan’s main island but less than 10 kilometres from China. On one occasion, on August 16, two Taiwanese soldiers wearing masks reportedly threw rocks at a Chinese drone when it flew above their military post.
The Kinmen Defence Command said two other Chinese drones were detected at Little Kinmen island and nearby Lion islet on Saturday and Monday respectively. The one that passed over Lion islet at around 4 pm was flying very low, only 30 meters from the ground, it said.
China has increased its antics in the Taiwan Strait since the visit of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Taiwan is warning that its military won’t hesitate to exercise right of self-defense and to counter-attack in the event of Chinese forces entering its territory.
The drone that was reportedly shot down definitely does not belong to PLA, but belong to mainland civilian drone hobbyists. But the shooting down will raise the Straits situation to the level of using opening fire to resolve issues. Taiwan side will have to bear the consequences. pic.twitter.com/pOKf2c8daN
— Hu Xijin 胡锡进 (@HuXijin_GT) September 1, 2022
The military will determine “whether to engage the target and exercise the right of self-defense to counter-attack,” if the foreign drones fail to depart after warnings, Major General Lin Wen-huang said Wednesday.
Chinese state media has meanwhile warned that even though these drone incidents are likely due to civilian operators from the mainland, Taiwan will still “bear the consequences” of opening fire.
Thu, 09/01/2022 – 07:47