Taiwanese forces shot down a drone over a tiny island off the coast of the Chinese mainland, which is controlled by Taipei, on Thursday. The civilian-operated drone was downed after it failed to heed warnings.
Drone incursions have been reported in the area in recent days but this is the first time Taiwan has shot down a drone that entered its territory from the Chinese side.
This comes after Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen ordered the army on Tuesday to take strong countermeasures against Chinese provocations.
The defense ministry, in an official statement, said the drone had entered restricted airspace over Lion Islet after midday and troops tried to warn it away. But the warnings had no effect and the Taiwanese forces shot it down.
Tsai said Beijing continued to use drone intrusions and other grey zone tactics to intimidate Taipei. She outlined that Taiwan would not provoke disputes. This doesn't mean that it would not take countermeasures. She ordered the Ministry of National Defense to take "necessary and strong countermeasures" in a timely manner to defend Taiwan's national security. The leader instructed the Taiwanese forces to guard the country without fear and with solid confidence.
On Wednesday, Taiwanese army opened fire on three civilian drones flying over three different locations above the Quemoy archipelago.
The drone, as per the spokesman for the Kinmen Defence Command Mayor General Chang Jung-shun, flew over the mainland city of Xiamen.
Within Restricted Waters
The Taiwanese forces spotted the unidentified drone and followed standard operation procedures by first issuing a warning. When it failed to oblige, the drone was shot down. Chang said within restricted waters when it was taken down. He added that they will continue to monitor and be on guard to maintain security in the garrisoned areas.
This development comes after the Taiwanese forces fired at a drone flying over Erdan on Tuesday. The drone is said to have been launched from Xiamen and retreated after it was fired at. Taiwan has a four-step protocol for drone encounters which involves firing warning flares, reporting the incursion, expelling the drone, and shooting it down.
China enhanced its military drills against Taiwan following the controversial trip by the US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the most senior US politician to travel to the island in 25 years. Beijing had tried to deter her from visiting as it sees Taiwan as a rogue part of China, and not as an independent state.