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Taiwan Shoots Down Chinese Drone Near Kinmen Islands Days After Vowing Action Against Hostile UAVs

The Taiwanese Defense Ministry confirmed on Thursday that the island’s armed forces had shot down a civil drone intended for aerial photography in the area of the Kinmen Islands located off the southeastern coast of mainland China.

“On September 1, at 12:30 p.m. local time [04:30 GMT], an unidentified civil drone for aerial photography was detected after it had entered the airspace over the closed water area of the Shi Islet,” the ministry said in a statement.

The troops stationed in the area warned the drone about the necessity to leave the airspace, and after the warning was ignored, the military shot down the aircraft, it added.

On Tuesday, the Taiwanese military fired on a Chinese People’s Liberation Army drone for the first time after it had approached the Taiwanese-controlled Kinmen Islands, saying that the defense forces would continue to stay on high alert and step up surveillance.

The Kinmen Islands is a group of islands located roughly 6.2 miles east of the city of Xiamen in China’s Fujian Province, administered by Taiwan.

According to the South China Morning Post newspaper, no Chinese military aircraft, including drones, have flown over the islands since the 1950s. The ministry began recording an increased activity of China’s aircraft in the islands’ airspace after the controversial visit of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taipei in early August.

Earlier, The United States assessed that China was trying to change the status quo regarding what is acceptable behavior in the Indo-Pacific region, US Defense Department spokesperson Pat Ryder said on Wednesday.

“We assess that really what China was trying to do here was change the status quo in terms of what is acceptable normal behavior in that region,” Ryder told reporters.

The United States is focusing on deepening cooperation with its regional partners to ensure stability and preserve the current international rule-based order, which has enabled keeping peace for more than 70 years since World War II, Ryder added.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Taiwanese Defense Ministry said its armed forces detected 62 aircraft and seven ships of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) approaching the self-governed island.

The situation around Taiwan escalated after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited the island on August 2-3 despite vigorous objections by China.

The visit was followed by another US delegation led by US Senator Edward Markey on August 14 and the visit of Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb on August 21. Each visit triggered China to conduct military maneuvers near the island.

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