The tension between China and Taiwan has been palpable for years now, as the former continues to deny that the latter is a self-governed territory.
Then, to make matters worse, US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi took a diplomatic jaunt to Taipei weeks ago, offending Beijing and drawing a number of heavy-handed threats from the Chinese Communist Party. Just after Pelosi’s departure, China began a number of naval drills in the water surrounding Taiwan that further escalated the situation.
Now, in a rather stunning development, a Chinese aircraft has been fired upon by Taiwan.
Taiwan fired warning shots at a Chinese drone that buzzed an offshore islet on Tuesday shortly after President Tsai Ing-wen said she had ordered Taiwan’s military to take “strong countermeasures” against what she termed Chinese provocations.
It was the first time warning shots have been fired in such an incident amid a period of heightened tension between China and Taiwan, which Beijing views as its own territory. Taiwan strongly disputes China’s sovereignty claims.
Taiwan remained defiant.
Speaking earlier on Tuesday while visiting the armed forces on the Penghu islands, Tsai criticized China for its drone and other “grey zone” warfare activity.
“I want to tell everyone that the more the enemy provokes, the more calm we must be,” Tsai told naval officers. “We will not provoke disputes, and we will exercise self-restraint, but it does not mean that we will not counter.”
US President Joe Biden has suggested that America would help to defend Taiwan militarily should China take their belligerence too far – a suggestion that had many wondering if our standing policy toward Beijing had changed.