TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Video has surfaced on Chinese social media showing Taiwanese soldiers throwing rocks at a Chinese drone as it appears to hover over a military installation on an outer island.
Photo and video footage has appeared in recent days on Chinese social media platforms such as Weibo allegedly taken by a Chinese unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). The photo, which shows Taiwanese soldiers looking up at a drone, was described by the Kinmen Defense Command (KDC) on Tuesday (Aug. 23) as a "civilian drone" flying over the Lieyu Garrison Battalion at 6 p.m. on Aug. 16.
A spokesman for the KDC on Wednesday (Aug. 24) told Taiwan News the drone was flying over the waters off the coast of Lieyu Township, but did not enter its airspace. The official emphasized that — as can be seen in the photo — one of the soldiers is holding a camera in his hand to take photos of the drone, as is the standard operating procedure (SOP) in such situations.
The representative said that because the UAV was still offshore, only a radio warning was issued. He said that flares were not fired because the UAV never entered the country's airspace.
He added the drone was at an elevation of approximately 1,000 meters and had taken the photo of the soldiers with a telephoto lens. The official also emphasized that the soldiers were situated at a monitoring station specifically positioned to monitor PLA aircraft flying in the area, and therefore the aircraft had not exposed a major military base.
However, the video then surfaced appearing to show two Taiwanese soldiers throwing rocks at the drone, with the first stone coming quite close, before a soldier with a rifle emerges. When asked to comment on the veracity of the video, the KDC at 6:40 p.m. on Wednesday evening issued a statement in which it confirmed that troops on Erdan Island had detected the intrusion of a "civilian" drone on Aug. 16.
The command center stated that during the incident, officers and enlisted personnel on duty were "highly vigilant" and adopted SOP such as identification, response, and notification. The KDC then acknowledged that off-duty officers and enlisted soldiers standing on the grounds outside the monitoring station "spontaneously threw rocks and harassed the drone, and it immediately flew away."
The KDC emphasized that the troops guarding the outer island adhered to the principle of "preparing for war without seeking war," and further strengthened their vigilance with an attitude of "not escalating conflict and causing disputes," while they stuck to their posts and were prepared to deal with any emergencies at a moment's notice.
The KDC stated the intrusion of the "Chinese Communist Party (CCP) drones" not only tested Taiwan's military response, but also created disinformation by editing short video clips and disseminating them to the online community. This was combined with the actions of the "cyber army" in an attempt to sow division, alleged the KDC.
It then stressed that given the constant incursions by CCP drones, the armed forces can use various joint intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance methods to ascertain the situation. That means the intensity of the military's response will be based on the threat level of the enemy and the regulations for handling emergencies, per the KDC.
The command center called on Taiwanese to "work together and not be influenced by cognitive warfare waged by the enemy, which seeks to divide the unity between the military and the people."