Taiwan fires flares towards suspected Chinese drones as war fears skyrocket

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Taipei said that the aircraft had flown in the area around the Kinmen islands and it had fired the flares to drive them away. The heavily fortified Kinmen islands are located just off the southeastern coast of China, near the city of Xiamen.

Taiwan has been on alert as China is conducting a series of military exercises in response to the visit of US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Major General Chang Zone-sung of the Army’s Kinmen Defence Command told Reuters that the drones arrived in a pair.

According to General Chang, they flew into the Kinmen area twice on Wednesday night, at around 9pm (1300 GMT) and again at 10pm.

He said: “We immediately fired flares to issue warnings and to drive them away.

“After that, they turned around.

“They came into our restricted area and that’s why we dispersed them.

“We have a standard operating procedure.

“We will react if they come in.” 

Despite the incursion General Chang insisted that the alert level in the area remained “normal”.

He added that he believed the drones were there to gather intelligence about Taiwan’s security deployment in its outlying islands.

According to Taiwan’s defence ministry, the island’s military fired flames at a drone last week that “glanced” its Matsu archipelago off the coast of China’s Fujian province.

It is suspected that the drone was attempting to gather data about Taiwanese defences in the area. 

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The Dongyin command fired flares at the drone to warn it away, the ministry said.

A senior official familiar with the security planning in the region told Reuters that it was a Chinese drone, probably one of the country’s new CSC-005 drones.

There was no immediate comment from China’s defence ministry.

It was the second such incident near Dongyin this year.

In February, a small Chinese civilian aircraft flew very close by.

At the time Taiwan described the incident as an attempt by China to develop a new strategy to test its reactions.

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