Taiwan’s military fired warning shots at a Chinese drone that encroached upon the airspace of an offshore islet on Aug. 30.
Beijing has stepped up military exercises following the visit of U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan last month. However, this is the first time warning shots have been fired at a Chinese military asset during such an incident.
All three drones flew back toward the Chinese mainland after the incident.
“I have ordered the Ministry of National Defense (MND) to take necessary and strong countermeasures at appropriate times, to defend the security of the nation’s territorial airspace,” Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen said in response to the latest Chinese drone incursion.
The Chinese government has not commented on the drone incursion. But, a spokesperson for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs dismissed previous reports of drones flying into Taiwanese airspace, saying, “I have seen the videos too. Chinese drones flying over China’s territory — what’s there to be surprised at?”
In a visit with armed forces on the Penghu islands, Tsai reiterated that Taiwan will not start a war with China, but that her nation will not recoil in the presence of Chinese provocations.
“I want to tell everyone that the more the enemy provokes, the more calm we must be,” Tsai stated. “We will not provoke disputes, and we will exercise self-restraint, but it does not mean that we will not counter.”
Soon after Pelosi’s visit, China escalated the conflict in the region and stepped up its military drills, firing missiles over the Taiwan Strait and hitting targets in Taiwanese waters. Eleven Chinese Dongfeng missiles were launched toward Taiwan within a two-hour period and China’s military exercises have been ongoing.
Taiwanese officers who accompanied Tsai said they have now been conducting exercises armed with live ammunition, since China began its live-fire drills in early August.
Taiwan’s defense minister, Chiu Kuo-cheng, declined to provide details on what steps the military would do to counter the incursion, simply stating his forces would react based on the principle of self-defense, the Guardian reported.
Military experts are encouraging Taiwanese soldiers to “not hold back on using counter-drone weapons” against China, according to Focus Taiwan.