Updated Sep 1, 2022 - World

Taiwan shoots down unidentified drone

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen (C) with air force pilots  at an air force base while inspecting military troops on Penghu islands on August 30.

Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen (C) with air force pilots at a base on the Penghu islands on Tuesday. Photo: Sam Yeh/AFP via Getty Images)

Taiwan's military on Thursday shot down an unidentified drone over one of its islands after it ignored warnings and entered its restricted airspace, Reuters reports.

The latest: The drone entered restricted airspace over Lion Islet, a small island about 2.5 miles from the shore of Xiamen, China, around midday on Thursday and troops tried to warn it away before firing shots.

State of play: A top official in Taiwan told reporters Wednesday its military will exercise its "right to self-defense and counter-attack" should Chinese forces enter the self-governing island's territory, per Reuters.

  • Lin Wen-Huang, Taiwan's deputy chief of the general staff for operations and planning, made the comments a day after Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen ordered the military to fire warning shots at a Chinese military drone — marking the first time such an incident has occurred, Reuters notes.

The big picture: There have been heightened tensions between Beijing and Taipei since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan earlier this month prompted China's military to begin days-long live ammunition drills near the democratically run island it regards as a breakaway province.

  • China's ambassador to Washington warned Beijing would regard further visits to Taipei by American officials, U.S. arms sales or naval activity near Taiwan as provocations that would further destabilize relations with the United States.
  • Taiwan has since seen visits from a U.S. delegation led by Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R), who arrived in Taipei on Tuesday.

What they're saying: Beijing did not immediately respond to the actions of Taiwan's military or comments by its officials, but the Chinese Foreign Ministry earlier this week dismissed complaints about flying drones in Taiwanese territory as "not worth fussing about," Reuters notes.

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Editor's note: This story has been updated with new details throughout.

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