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DEFENSE/U.S. urges restraint amid China's drone harassment of Taiwan

04/09/2024 12:05 PM
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The U.S. Department of State building in Washington, D.C. CNA photo April 9, 2024
The U.S. Department of State building in Washington, D.C. CNA photo April 9, 2024

Washington, April 8 (CNA) The United States on Monday urged restraint and no unilateral change to the status quo across the Taiwan Strait amid China's "gray zone" harassment of Taiwan, including the use of drones near the Taiwan-controlled Kinmen islands.

Earlier Monday (Taipei Time), the defense command for Kinmen said subordinate units detected a civilian drone approaching the islands of Erdan and then Menghu at around 9 a.m. and 2 p.m., respectively.

The movements came after a Chinese YouTube channel posted drone videos of Taiwan's military supplies and transportation in Erdan on March 30.

Often seen as a front line in any potential hostilities between China and Taiwan, the Kinmen islands are located just off the southeastern coast of China, with Erdan and Menghu just 5-6 kilometers away from the Chinese coastal city of Xiamen.

Asked to comment on China's "gray-zone" tactics against Taiwan, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of State told CNA that the U.S. is closely monitoring Beijing's actions.

"We continue to urge restraint and no unilateral change to the status quo, which has preserved peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and throughout the region for decades," the spokesman said.

"We urge the PRC to engage in meaningful dialogue with Taiwan to reduce the risk of miscalculation."

"The United States shares with other countries an abiding interest in peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and in the broader Indo-Pacific region, which impact global security and prosperity," the spokesman said.

Taiwan's Army Chief of General Staff Chen Chien-yi (陳建義) said on April 3 that Chinese filming of the islands of Dadan and Erdan is part of its "gray zone" tactics against Taiwan, which are aimed at undermining the morale of Taiwan's military.

He said the drone flights were not unexpected, and that they have happened in the past and will happen again in the future.

Thomas Shattuck, a U.S. scholar specializing in cross-strait relations, said at an online seminar in late March that Taiwan, with limited resources, should learn from the Philippines.

He said the Philippines has had many confrontations with China in the South China Sea and tried to counter its intrusions by recording Beijing's military harassment and publicizing it to try to galvanize public outrage in the international community.

(By Chung Yu-chen and Evelyn Kao)

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