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Taiwan Says China Military Drone Spotted Near Remote Island Airport

A Chinese military drone hovered near an airport on a remote Taiwan island causing delays to flights, Taipei’s military and local media said Wednesday.

Liberty Times said the drone was spotted around 5 nautical miles (5.7 miles/9.3 kilometers) from Matsu’s Nangan Airport on Tuesday, and it stayed around for about 20 minutes.

Beijing claims democratic Taiwan as its own territory and has never renounced the use of force to bring the self-ruled island under its control.

In addition to military pressure from Chinese warplanes and vessels that maintain a near-daily presence around the island, Taiwan has faced incursions from civilian and unidentified drones that surveil and harass troops.

The army’s Matsu Defence Command confirmed an unspecified “Chinese military drone” was detected Tuesday morning.

Matsu is around 200 kilometers (124 miles) northwest of Taipei but much closer to mainland China.

“Since its flight route was close to the take-off and landing channels of civilian aircraft, the Nangan Airport Tower was notified to complete relevant handling to ensure aviation safety,” it said without elaborating.

In April, Taiwan’s military said soldiers on tiny Erdan island, part of the frontline Kinmen archipelago just off China’s mainland, were on heightened alert following what it called provocations by Chinese civilian drones.

In 2022, Taiwanese soldiers on Kinmen shot down an unidentified civilian drone following a visit to Taipei by then-US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Drone and other incursions follow a pattern of what experts dub “grey zone” actions — tactics that fall short of outright acts of war — which have ramped up in recent years as tensions between Taipei and Beijing rose.

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