Chinese drones cross Taiwan Strait median line for first time: Taipei

Beijing, Sep 12 (EFE).- The Taiwanese Defense Ministry said Chinese military drones crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait for the first time, already crossed on multiple occasions in recent weeks by planes and ships of the People’s Liberation Army.

According to the military, the first drone, a BT-100 autonomous aerial vehicle, crossed the line for the first time on Thursday along with 25 Chinese planes, something that happened again Friday and Saturday, local media reported Monday.

The median line of the Strait of Formosa – an unofficial border tacitly respected by Taipei and Beijing in recent decades – has been consistently overrun in recent weeks by Chinese forces during military exercises.

Taiwan had already said a week ago that a Chinese drone had entered its air defense identification zone.

Meanwhile, on Sep. 1, the island announced the shooting down of an unidentified civilian drone over one of the islands under its sovereignty located a few kilometers from the Chinese coast.

Days earlier, a photo taken by a Chinese drone of two apparently bewildered Taiwanese soldiers at a lookout in the Kinmen Islands had gone viral on both sides of the strait.

Despite the apparent short distance at which the photo of the soldiers was taken, the island’s defense ministry said the Chinese device did not enter Taiwanese airspace, after some voices in Taiwan questioned the competence of the armed forces to allow the incursion.

Taiwan’s army has also said it is working on a defense system against drones that will be ready next year on the aforementioned islands.

China’s military presence around Taiwan has grown to levels not seen in decades since United States House Speaker Nancy Pelosi traveled to Taiwan in early August, a visit that angered Beijing.

The Chinese government responded with economic sanctions on Taiwan, in addition to sanctioning Pelosi, suspending talks with Washington in several important areas and deploying intense military maneuvers around the self-governing island.

China claims sovereignty over the island and has considered Taiwan a rebellious province since the Kuomintang nationalists withdrew there in 1949 after losing the civil war against the communists.

Taiwan, with whom the US does not maintain official relations, is one of the main sources of conflict between China and the US, mainly because Washington is its main weapons supplier and would be its greatest military ally in case of war. EFE


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