Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said Tuesday that Taiwanese troops fired warning shots at a Chinese drone that was flying in airspace over Kinmen County, an archipelago of Taiwanese-controlled islands off the southeastern coast of mainland China.
The Taiwanese Army’s Kinmen Defense Command said that three “civilian” drones flew over the Kinmen islands, also known as Quemoy islands, and that Taiwanese troops fired warning flares, driving the drones away.
But then another drone entered airspace over Erdan, an island in the archipelago that is only 2.5 miles from the Chinese mainland city of Xiamen. Taiwanese troops then fired shoots at the drone, which drove it away.
The incident is the first time that Taiwan fired on Chinese drones since it began detecting them in its airspace and came after the Taiwanese military warned it would shoot drones down.
Taiwan has frequently reported Chinese drones flying near its outlying islands since China launched its largest-ever military exercises in response to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taipei.
China has kept up the military pressure on Taiwan as US delegations continue to visit Taipei. Arizona Governor Doug Ducey arrived in Taiwan on Tuesday, marking the fifth US visit to the island in the month of August.
The incident highlights the danger of the current tensions that were sparked by Pelosi’s visit. The Biden administration is reportedly preparing to ask Congress to approve a $1.1 billion arms sale for Taiwan that includes anti-ship and air-to-air missiles.
Washington severed diplomatic relations with Taipei in 1979 but has continued to sell weapons to Taiwan. In recent years, US support for Taiwan has been increasing as Washington now views the island as an opportunity to counter Beijing.