TAIWANESE military Thursday shot down a Chinese civilian drone flying over an islet just a few kilometers from the Chinese coast, the official Central News Agency (CNA) reported.
Soldiers spotted the unidentified drone entering the Taiwanese airspace over the Shi island in Kinmen county, the news agency said. The islet lies just 4 km from the city of Xiamen in China’s southeastern province of Fujian.
The Taiwanese military, in accordance with its rules of engagement for drone encounters, “first fired warning flares and live rounds” to chase the drone away, CNA said. “However, as the drone continued to hover, soldiers ultimately shot the aircraft down,” the news agency said, citing a Kinmen Defense Command statement.
The military shot down the Chinese drone after the government vowed a more robust response to China’s growing violations of the Taiwanese airspace.
Chinese drone incursions increased after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan last month which angered China and sparked tensions between Washington and Beijing.
A photo taken by a Chinese drone of two apparently bewildered Taiwanese soldiers at a lookout post in the Kinmen Islands went viral last week across the straits. Despite the apparent short distance at which the photo of the soldiers was taken, the island’s defense ministry said the Chinese device did not enter Taiwanese airspace.
Tsai recently announced a 14 percent increase in defense spending for the next year amid an increasing military incursion by China. China considers Taiwan a breakaway faction.
Beijing says the self-governed island will ultimately be reunified with the mainland even by military force if necessary.