Taipei — Taiwan discovers Chinese drones orbiting the Taipei-controlled Platas Islands in the South China Sea and could shoot them down if they are too close, government ministers said Wednesday, dramatic tensions with Beijing. Movements that may be enhanced.
Lee Chong Wei, who heads the Coast Guard Administration’s Marine Commission, spoke in parliament and said he had recently found a Chinese drone orbiting Platas, but never flew over the island. ..
“They never entered our restricted waters or airspace, they just flew around them at a certain distance,” Lee said.
China does not accept Taiwan’s claim of sovereignty, but its aircraft and ships typically remain outside Taiwan’s restricted area, which stretches 3.7 miles from the coast.
Asked how the Coast Guard would react if a Chinese drone entered the restricted area, Lee said they had rules of involvement.
“Once it enters, it is treated under the rules. If it needs to be fired, it will fire.”
Platas is at the top of the disputed waterway and is the source of China’s alleged relatively new conspiracy between Taiwan and Beijing.
In recent months, Taiwan has been dissatisfied with repeated Chinese air force activities near the island. The Taiwan Coast Guard has regular deployments of Marines, but only lightly defends them. There are no permanent civilians, only occasional visits to scientists.
In October, Hong Kong air traffic controllers warned of Taiwan’s civilian flight to Platas on regular weekly supply flights and were forced to turn back.
Platas, the closest territory to Taiwan-controlled Hong Kong, has also been of special importance since anti-government protests began in China-run cities.
Near Platas, Taiwan intercepted at least one boat heading for Taiwan with people fleeing Hong Kong.
Another major South China Sea island in Taiwan is Ituaba, also known as Taiping Island, which is part of the Spratly Islands.
Lee said Chinese drones have not yet been discovered.
In addition to China and Taiwan, Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam also claim to compete with the islands of the South China Sea for their characteristics.
US warships pass through Taiwan Strait in Chinese tension
The USS John S. McCain, a guided-missile destroyer, made “regular” passages through the Taiwan Strait on Wednesday, the US Navy said.
“Vessels passing through the Taiwan Strait show the United States’ commitment to the free and open Indo-Pacific. The US military will continue to fly, sail and operate as long as international law allows.”
By Yimou Lee and Ben Blanchard