Taiwanese forces fire on drones flying over island near China

TAIPEI

The Taiwanese military fired warning shots at Chinese drones flying over its outposts just off China’s coast, underscoring heightened tensions and the self-governing island’s resolve to respond to further provocations.

Taiwanese forces said in a statement that troops took action on Tuesday after drones were found hovering over the Kinmen island group.

Wednesday’s statement referred to unmanned aerial vehicles as “civilian use” but gave no other details. He said the drones returned to the nearby Chinese city of Xiamen after the shootings. Taiwan previously only fired flares as a warning.

The incident comes amid heightened tensions after China fired missiles into the sea and sent planes and ships across the demarcation line in the Taiwan Strait earlier this month. It followed angry rhetoric from Beijing during a trip to Taiwan by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the highest-ranking US official to visit the island in 25 years.

China claims Taiwan as its own territory and its recent actions have been seen as a rehearsal for a possible blockade or invasion. China’s exercises have been strongly condemned by Taiwan’s main ally, the United States, as well as other regional democracies such as Australia and Japan. Some of the Chinese missiles fell in early August in Japan’s exclusive economic zone.

Taiwan maintains control over a series of islands in the Kinmen and Matsu groups in the Taiwan Strait, a relic of Chiang Kai-shek nationalists’ effort to maintain a foothold on the mainland after they were driven out by Communists from Mao Zedong in the midst of civil war in 1949.

Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said China’s actions had failed to intimidate the island’s 23 million people, saying they had only boosted support for the armed forces and the status quo de facto independence.

Officials said anti-drone defenses were being beefed up, part of a 12.9% increase in the Defense Department’s annual budget next year. The government plans to spend an additional 47.5 billion New Taiwan dollars ($1.6 billion), for a total of NTD 415.1 billion ($13.8 billion) for the year.

The United States is also reportedly preparing to approve a $1.1 billion defense package for Taiwan, which would include anti-ship and air-to-air missiles to be used in repelling a possible Chinese invasion attempt.

Following the Chinese drills, the United States sailed two warships through the Taiwan Strait, which China has sought to designate as its sovereign waters. Foreign delegations from the United States, Japan and European countries continued to arrive to provide diplomatic and economic support to Taipei.

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey is currently visiting Taiwan to discuss the production of semiconductors, the essential chips used in everyday electronics that have become a battleground in tech competition between the United States and China.

Ducey is looking to woo suppliers for Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp’s new $12 billion plant. (TSMC) under construction in its state.

Last week, the Indiana governor visited Taiwan on a similar mission.

Taiwan produces more than half of the world’s supply of high-end processor chips. China’s missile launches during its drills have disrupted sea and air traffic and highlighted the possibility of chip exports being halted.

Reacting to Ducey’s visit, China on Wednesday reaffirmed its opposition to any official contact between the United States and Taiwan. It was a further reminder of the Communist Party’s refusal to recognize the separation of powers within the US government and the right of US local officials to operate independently of the administration.

“We urge relevant parties in the United States to … end all forms of official contact with Taiwan and refrain from sending the wrong signals to Taiwan independence forces,” the Ministry of Affairs spokesperson said. foreign Zhao Lijian at a daily press briefing.

“China will take strong measures to resolutely safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Zhao said.