Taiwan’s shooting down of a drone off the Chinese coast that buzzed a Taiwanese-controlled island was the most “appropriate” thing to do after repeated warnings, and China should exercise restraint, Taiwan Premier Su Tseng-chang said on Friday.
Taiwan’s military for the first time shot down an unidentified civilian drone that entered its airspace near an islet that sits next door to China’s Xiamen city on Thursday, after the government vowed to take tough measures to deal with an increase in such intrusions.
The incident came after Taiwan had repeatedly complained of harassment by drones coming from China and flying right up close to the Kinmen islands.
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Speaking to reporters, Su said Taiwan had repeatedly issued warnings and “asked them not to encroach on our doorstep.”
“They repeatedly ignored our warnings to leave and we had no choice but to exercise self-defense and shoot. This is the most appropriate reaction after repeated restraint and warnings.”
At least two videos of recent drone trips have circulated widely on Chinese social media, in one of which Taiwanese soldiers were seen throwing stones at the craft.
Su said these videos were made for China’s “propaganda at home,” adding to the anger of Taiwan’s people.
China’s foreign ministry on Monday dismissed Taiwan’s complaints about drones as nothing “to make a fuss about.”
Taiwan has controlled Kinmen, which at its closest point is a few hundred meters (feet) from Chinese territory, since the defeated Republic of China government fled to Taipei after losing a civil war to Mao Zedong’s communists in 1949.
During the height of the Cold War, China regularly shelled Kinmen and other Taiwanese-held islands along the Chinese coast, but they are now tourist destinations.
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