Taiwan has spotted chinese drones. Circling the taipei controlled pradas islands in the south china sea and may shoot them down if they stray too close. A government minister said on wednesday a move that could dramatically increase tensions with beijing. Speaking at parliament, lee chengwei, who heads the ocean affairs council under whose purview the coast guard falls said that they had recently spotted chinese drones. Circling the protest, though they have not flown over the islands, they have never entered our restricted waters and airspace theyve just flown around them. At a certain distance. Lee said, while china recognizes no taiwanese claims of sovereignty, its aircraft and ships generally stay outside taiwans restricted zone, which extends six kilometers from its coast asked how the coast guard would react if a chinese drone entered that restricted zone. Lee said they had rules of engagement. After it enters, it will be handled under the rules. If we need to open fire, we open fire. The pradas lie at the top end of the disputed waterway and have become a relatively new source of entry between chinese claimed taiwan and beijing in recent months. Taiwan has complained of repeated chinese air force activity near the islands which taiwans coast guard only likely defends, though there are periodic deployments of marines. There is no permanent civilian population, only occasional visiting scientists. In october, hong kong, air traffic controllers warned off a taiwanese civilian flight. Flying to the pradas on a routine weekly supply run forcing it to turn back the pradas.

The closest taiwan controlled territory to hong kong have also taken on extra significance.