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Taiwan shoots down civilian drone over its island just off China’s coastline

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Sep 1, 2022

An unidentified civilian drone was shot down by the Taiwanese military Thursday after its entered its airspace by flying over one of Taipei’s smallest islands which sits just a couple miles from mainland China.

The drone reportedly flew over the waters of Shiyu Islet, also referred to as Lion Islet, which houses a small contingent of stationed Taiwanese military personnel.

The incident comes as tensions between Taiwan and China continue to mount following Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taipei last month. 

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China on Wednesday said it would not re-enter talks with the U.S. on military or climate-based issues until Pelosi dispelled the “negative influence” she had imparted on the island, Reuters reported.

Taiwan’s Kinmen Defense Command, which oversees a group of Taipei-controlled islands just miles from China’s Xiamen and Quanzhou cities, said in a statement Thursday that an aerial camera entered the “airspace over the restricted waters of Shiyu Island.”

The defense command said its garrisoned troops dealt with the intrusive drone “in accordance with the procedures” and first issued a warning before shooting down the drone. 

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“The Ministry of Defense emphasized that it will continue to search and monitor and monitor closely to maintain the security of the defense area,” Taiwan’s military news agency said.

Taiwan identifies as a sovereign nation under the Republic of China (ROC), which is separate from the People’s Republic of China (PRC), though China, the U.S. and the U.N. officially recognize Taipei as a part of the PRC under the one China policy.

The U.S. does not support Taiwanese independence from mainland China but champions the island as a “leading democracy,” according to the State Department. 

The U.S. and the U.N. have warned China against changing the status quo in the region.

Beijing, which views Taiwan as one with its nation, has increasingly harassed Taiwanese islands off its coastline in recent weeks as it beefs up its military drills in the waters and airspace between Taiwan and mainland China.

Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense announced last week that it would begin deploying drone defense systems off its small islets in response to China’s increased aggression in the region, Taiwanese news outlets reported. 

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