Tensions with China increase: Taiwan shoots down civilian drone for the first time

The situation between China and Taiwan continues to deteriorate.

Tensions with China increase: Taiwan shoots down civilian drone for the first time

The situation between China and Taiwan continues to deteriorate. After drones had repeatedly penetrated the airspace of the island state, it is now being shot down for the first time. The Taiwanese soldiers had previously tried in vain to drive the drone away.

For the first time, Taiwanese soldiers shot down a drone amid ongoing tensions with China. According to the Defense Ministry, the "civilian drone of unknown origin" had entered the "exclusion zone" of Shiyu, a mini-island located between mainland China and the Taiwanese archipelago of Kinmen. The soldiers stationed there had previously tried in vain to drive the drone out of the zone.

Since the visit of US top politician Nancy Pelosi and other US representatives in early August, a record number of Chinese fighter jets have penetrated the airspace around Taiwan: According to figures from the Defense Ministry in Taipei, 446 Chinese fighter jets penetrated Taiwan's air defense zone in August alone.

Taiwan had only started publishing its data on violations of its own air defense zone in September 2020; the zone not recognized by China is significantly larger than the island's actual airspace. The previous record month with a total of 196 overflights was October 2021.

Taiwan had reported a series of incidents involving small drones over military outposts in the past two weeks. Tensions in the region increased massively following a visit to Taiwan by US top politician Nancy Pelosi in early August. In response to the visit, China's army held its largest-ever military maneuvers in the waters around the island, including firing missiles.

Taiwan saw the maneuvers as preparation for a Chinese invasion. As recently as Wednesday, Taiwan's military threatened a "counterattack" if Chinese warplanes and warships entered its territory. If Chinese planes and ships enter the 12-mile zone off the coast, Taiwan has a "right to self-defense" and will counterattack, military representative Lin Wen-huang told reporters.

The Taiwanese entrepreneur Robert Tsao says he wants to support the defense of his homeland with a generous donation. The 75-year-old founder of the microchip manufacturer announced that he would use the equivalent of 33 million euros from his private fortune to train more than three million "civilian fighters" to help Taiwan's military defend the island in the event of a Chinese invasion UMC on. Tsao described the threat posed by China to democratically governed Taiwan as "existential". "If we can successfully resist China's ambitions, we will not only be able to protect our homeland, but also make great contributions to the development of civilization," he said.

Since the split between China and Taiwan in 1949, Beijing has viewed the island as a breakaway territory that it wants to reunite with the mainland - if necessary, using military force. The Russian war of aggression against Ukraine has raised fears that Beijing could use a similar approach in its dealings with Taiwan.

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