On August 24, the Taiwanese military confirmed that a photo circulating on Chinese social media of Taiwanese soldiers looking at a Chinese unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) is authentic.

An image that went viral on Weibo, a Chinese social media platform, purportedly showed sentries in Taiwan staring down a drone belonging to the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).

The Taiwanese military said in its latest statement that the Lieyu Garrison Battalion observed a “civilian drone” flying overhead at around 6 p.m. on August 16, Taiwan News reported. 

The army added that the unit had “initiated counter-surveillance measures following established protocols” and “proper response measures to repel the drone.”

The drone quickly moved away after sentinels followed standard operating procedure (SOP) to notify and warn the aircraft. According to a Kinmen Defense Command spokesperson who spoke to Taiwan News, the drone was indeed a civilian and flew over the waters off the coast of Lieyu Township.

He further stated that the drone did not enter the country’s airspace. The official pointed out that, as seen in the photo, one of the soldiers is carrying a camera in his hand to photograph the drone.

Normally, the standard protocol also includes warning flares to scare off Chinese drones rather than taking more drastic measures, such as shooting down the aircraft, to prevent an escalation of tensions across the strait.

In this case, the spokesman stressed that only a radio warning was given because the UAV was still at sea. He said no flares were fired because the UAV never crossed the country’s airspace.

However, a video on the internet seems to show the same military outpost with two soldiers throwing stones at the drone. The video appears to have been recorded directly by the drone.

He added that the drone had captured the image of the soldiers using a single telephoto lens while flying at about 1,000 meters. The official pointed out that the soldiers were stationed at a station to track EPL planes in the area; therefore, the plane had not revealed a major military installation.

Kinmen County, also known as Quemoy, is a group of islands in the Chinese province of Fujian governed by Taiwan, formally known as the Republic of China. It is about 10 kilometers east of the city of Xiamen.

Since the beginning of the year, the Taiwanese military has reported seeing Chinese military and civilian drones flying near Kinmen and neighboring Matsu County on the front lines.

Taiwan begins live-fire exercises with tanks and artillery.

It is thought that the Chinese regularly dispatch these drones to monitor Taiwanese troops on the front islands and to assess the island nation’s military preparedness for Chinese incursions. 

On August 24, Taiwan conducted live-fire training with tanks, artillery, and other weapons in Penghu County. According to local media, the Penghu Defense Command conducted live-fire training that morning using M60A3 tanks, 105mm, 155mm, 120mm mortars, and 50-caliber machine guns.

Live fire demonstrated the “strong combat power” of the Penghu Defense Command forces. M60A3 tanks conducted counter-amphibious landing operations throughout the exercise and fired various munitions to assess the combat readiness of officers and enlisted men.

In addition, the 155mm howitzers used live ammunition, and the 105mm howitzers and 120mm mortars changed position after firing flares, which were also accompanied by live ammunition.

Targets in the air were shot down with 50-caliber machine guns. The weapon systems complemented each other to carry out highly effective joint strike operations and showcase the armed forces’ “strong combat power.”

On August 23, President Tsai Ing-wen visited three military units monitoring the Taiwan People’s Liberation Army (PLA) activities.

The president inspected three units in northern New Taipei City: the Air Force’s No. 6 Radar Squadron, the Navy’s Hai Feng Land-Based Anti-Ship Missile Squadron 3rd, and the Air Force’s Taipei Communications Squadron. Aerial.

Meanwhile, Wei Fenghe, China’s State Councilor and Minister of Defense, declared in a video address at a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) on August 24 that “Taiwan is China’s Taiwan, and The Taiwan issue is China’s internal affair.”

Wei delivered the speech via video conference at a meeting of defense ministers of SCO member states. He also said China firmly opposes and denounces the visit by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.