Tiny Taiwan defied massive China on Tuesday by firing warning shots at a Chinese drone that flew above an offshore island of that’s part of the embattled democracy.
The incident marked the first time Taiwan has responded to the barrage of military drills and provocations that have marked the aftermath of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan earlier this month, according to Reuters.
The drone, which was among a group of three buzzing the island, turned back toward China after the shots were fired. According to CNN, flares were fired at the drones before the live rounds.
President Tsai Ing-wen said Taiwan’s military will take “strong countermeasures” against what she termed Chinese provocations, Reuters reported.
Tsai criticized China for its war games and drills that surrounded the island after Pelosi visited.
“I want to tell everyone that the more the enemy provokes, the more calm we must be,” Tsai told naval officers, according to Reuters. “We will not provoke disputes, and we will exercise self-restraint, but it does not mean that we will not counter.”
China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian scoffed at the incident, hewing to the Chinese Communist Party’s line that Taiwan – where the Nationalist government fled after losing a civil war in 1949 — belongs to the Beijing government.
“Chinese drones flying over China’s territory, what’s there to be surprised at?” Zhao said, according to the BBC.
“Firstly, I need to tell you Taiwan is a province of China, it has no so-called defense ministry. The Taiwan authorities are playing up their nervousness, this is meaningless,” he said, according to Reuters.
Taiwan fired back hot words, with a sound bite from Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry saying “uninvited people are called thieves,” according to Reuters.
Taiwan Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng said Taiwan will be guided by its need for self-defense.
“Don’t make a fuss then when I set off some firecrackers to scare away some sparrows,” he said, according to Reuters.
Pelosi’s Aug. 2 visit to Taiwan sparked an international uproar, with the Beijing regime making its displeasure known that such a high-ranking American official was making an implicit gesture of support for the Taipei government.
Since then, other American lawmakers have also visited Taiwan.
On Monday, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said China is trying to “turn up the temperature” so that military tensions in the Taiwan Strait become a “new normal.”
“We’ve said publicly we’re not going to accept it,” Kirby said, according to Voice of America.
U.S. warships routinely said through the strait, which separates China and Taiwan. Most recently, two guided missile cruisers sailed through the strait on Sunday, according to CNN.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.