Taiwanese Prime Minister Su Tseng-chang said the island’s decision to shoot down a drone off the coast of China was an act of “proper” self-defense.
Taiwan, for the first time in its history, on Thursday shot down an unidentified civilian drone that entered its airspace near an islet near the Chinese city of Xiamen. The drone crashed into the sea after being shot down for entering restricted airspace near Lion Islet.
Earlier this week, the Taiwanese military fired warning shots at Chinese drones flying near Kinmen County, forcing the unmanned aircraft back to China.
“They repeatedly ignored our warnings to leave and we had no choice but to exercise our self-defence and shoot,” the prime minister told reporters on Friday.
“This is the most appropriate reaction after repeated restraints and warnings.”
He added that Taiwan has repeatedly issued warnings and told Beijing “not to step on our doorstep.”
“We will never provoke and we will do what is best to protect our land and our people,” Mr. Su added.
The Kinmen Defense Command said its forces on Friday detected two drones that quickly returned to Xiamen after the military fired flares.
The prime minister’s remarks come days after Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen said the military had been ordered to take “strong countermeasures” against what she called the war provocations of the China’s gray area.
“We won’t provoke conflicts and we will show restraint, but that doesn’t mean we won’t counter,” Ms Tsai told navy officers during a troop inspection on the Penghu Islands.
China considers Taiwan to be part of its national territory, although the island has been self-governing since its separation from the mainland in 1949.
Beijing has beefed up its military presence around the island since US President Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taipei last month.
During the height of the Cold War, Beijing regularly bombarded the islet of Kinmen, and recent military exercises around Taiwan have reignited fears of conflict in the region.
Earlier this week, Taiwan released its four-step protocol for responding to drone encounters, which includes firing flares, reporting the incursion, kicking the drone out and finally shooting it down.
Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu, speaking via video link at a forum in Prague, said the president championed the idea of ”asymmetrical warfare”.
“To safeguard our security and sovereignty, Taiwan will continue to develop its asymmetric capability to make cross-strait invasion very difficult and costly,” he said.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian reportedly said that “Taiwan’s attempt to escalate tensions means nothing.”
Local media quoted China’s Taiwan Affairs Office as saying the downing of the drone was “extremely ridiculous” and that Taipei was trying to “do the hype”.
Beijing had previously dismissed Taiwan’s complaints of “drone harassment” as “not worth fussing over”.
Additional reports by agencies
. prime minister taiwanese declare the slaughter dun drone chinese is act defense proper