The US, Japan, and Taiwan are preparing to share real-time data from naval surveillance drones in a move sure to anger China, Financial Times reported on Thursday.
General Atomics is due to deliver four MQ-9B Guardian drones to Taiwan in early 2025, the maritime version of the MQ-9 Reaper drone, which the US has used to launch airstrikes across the Middle East and Africa.
Sources told Financial Times that the US will allow Taiwan to integrate the drones into the same system that the US and Japanese militaries use in the region, allowing real-time data sharing.
A US military official acknowledged that Beijing will view the cooperation as escalatory. “The sharing of data between Japan and Taiwan, between Taiwan and the Philippines, between the US and all three of them, is so crucial, but it’s also one of the big taboos because China will see it as escalatory,” the official said.
China has been warning strongly against recent US steps to increase both military and diplomatic support for Taiwan, including the deployment of about 200 US troops to the island for training purposes. The deployment marks the largest known US military presence in Taiwan since Washington severed relations with Taipei in 1979 to open up with Beijing.