The “drones’-eye footage”

Oleg Burunov

In early September, the Taiwanese military announced that an unidentified civilian drone crashed into the sea after it was shot down; it had purportedly entered the island’s restricted airspace.
Several videos have emerged on the Chinese social media platform Weibo showing what appear to be civilian-grade drones from mainland China trolling Taiwan’s military, CNN has reported.
The short clips show military installations and personnel stationed in the Taiwan-controlled Kinmen islands. They are accompanied by soundtracks ranging from ballads to dance music and plenty of emojis, according to CNN.
The US broadcaster referred to the videos as “drones’-eye footage,” with one clip reportedly showing four Taiwanese servicemen respond to the intruding drone by throwing stones at the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), which CNN claimed “zooms in so close you can make out the faces of individual soldiers.”
While the Taiwanese military confirmed the drone incursions from Chinese soil, Beijing brushed off the claims as “no big deal.” When asked about civilian-grade UAVs flying over the Kinmen area, a China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson said, “Chinese drones flying over China’s territory – what’s there to be surprised at?”
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, for her part, described the UAV incursions as a new front in China’s “gray-zone” warfare tactics to intimidate the island.
The remarks followed an unknown drone being shot down by the Taiwanese military earlier this month after the UAV entered the island’s airspace off the Chinese coast.
Taiwanese Premier Su Tseng-chang argued that the downing of the drone was “the most appropriate” thing to do after repeated warnings, adding, “They repeatedly ignored our warnings to leave and we had no choice but to exercise self-defense and shoot.”
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian responded by claiming that Taiwan’s “attempt to hype up tensions does not mean anything.”
The developments come as tensions are running high between Beijing and Taipei after US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan in August despite warnings from China to refrain from her trip.
Beijing slammed Pelosi’s visit as provocative, arguing that it violates Chinese sovereignty, and launched large-scale drills in waters near the island as part of retaliatory measures.
The same tone was struck by Beijing regarding the US lawmakers’ subsequent visit to Taiwan, which the Chinese Defense Ministry claimed “sends the wrong signal to separatist forces advocating Taiwan’s independence,” and “completely exposes the face of the United States as the destroyer of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.”
Taiwan is an autonomous, self-governing territory which Beijing perceives as an integral part of China.
Washington continues to bolster relations with Taiwan, in particular, by delivering weapons and maintaining bilateral relations, which Beijing sees as a violation of China’s integrity.