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Eric Chan Discusses What Led the Taiwan Military to Shoot Down a Chinese Civilian Drone Ep 206

By Felicia Lin

A note from Talking Taiwan host Felicia Lin:

On September first, the Taiwan military shot down a Chinese civilian drone that flew near Kinmen. In this episode of Talking Taiwan. I speak with Eric Chan about what led up the incident, China’s increased gray zone tactics toward Taiwan since U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan in early August, and other news related to Taiwan’s military, such as the Taiwan Policy Act and UMC founder, Robert Tsao’s donation for civil defense in Taiwan.

Eric Chan is a non-resident research fellow at the Global Taiwan Institute, a Washington DC-based think tank dedicated to policy research on Taiwan and its people. He is also a senior airpower strategist with the U.S. Air Force, where he provides USAF with expertise on People’s Republic of China military capabilities, political leadership, and strategic culture.

Mr. Chan was previously the China, Korea, Philippines, and Vietnam Country Director with the Air Force. In this role, Mr. Chan was responsible for USAF engagement with the Chinese Air Force, and for managing security cooperation with key allies and partners.

Mr. Chan has published widely on Chinese influence operations and gray zone warfare, Taiwan military reform, and military diplomacy with the People’s Liberation Army. He has written for publications including the Global Taiwan Brief, the USAF Journal of Indo-Pacific Affairs, The Diplomat, and War on the Rocks.

Mr. Chan holds a Master’s degree in International Affairs from the George Washington University and a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science/History from the University of California, San Diego.

This episode of Talking Taiwan has been sponsored by NATWA, the North America Taiwanese Women’s Association.



NATWA was founded in 1988, and its mission is:


  1. to evoke a sense of self-esteem and enhance women’s dignity,
  2. to oppose gender discrimination and promote gender equality,
  3. to fully develop women’s potential and encourage their participation in public affairs,
  4. to contribute to the advancement of human rights and democratic development in Taiwan,
  5. to reach out and work with women’s organizations worldwide to promote peace for all.


To learn more about NATWA visit their website:


Here’s a little preview of what we talked about in this podcast episode:


  • How China’s gray zone tactics towards Taiwan have changed over the years and since U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan in August
  • Should there be concerns about these changes and China’s use of drones in their gray zone tactics towards Taiwan
  • What kind of intelligence can drones collect and damage they can do
  • When China started sending drones over to Taiwan
  • To date about 30 drones have flown over Kimen
  • What led up to Taiwan’s military shooting down a drone from China on September 1
  • How Taiwan’s military is considering installing anti-drone systems
  • The difference between civilian and miliary drones
  • How Ukraine has rigged civilian drones with grenades in the war with Russia
  • The impact of China’s military actions in response to Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan and was it a blockade
  • How some have called China’s recent military actions against Taiwan the fourth straits crisis
  • What would constitute a military blockade of Taiwan
  • Based on China’s recent military actions, what do we know about China’s military capability
  • How Beijing’s recent white paper “One China, Two Systems” does not include promises made in a previous 1993 paper that Taiwan could have its own administrative, legislative, and judicial institutions, run its own democratic system, have its own military and economic affairs
  • How Beijing will use Taiwan’s rejection of the white paper to justify harsher tactics against Taiwan
  • How has China’s’ recent military actions and white paper affected public perception of people in China
  • UMC (United Microelectronics Corporation) founder, Robert Tsao’s sizable donation for civil defense of Taiwan
  • The Taiwan Policy Act which has been passed through the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
  • What the Taiwan Policy Act would mean for Taiwan and the Taiwan Relations Act
  • The message that the Taiwan Policy Act would send to China


Related Links:


Eric Chan on LinkedIn:


US-China-Taiwan Tensions: New Status Quo? Insights from Eric Chan (an article from The Diplomat):


Global Taiwan Institute:


Pelosi has landed in Taiwan. Here’s why that’s a big deal (an article from NPR):


The fallout continues from Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan (an article from NPR):


Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives:




A New Framework for Understanding and Countering China’s Gray Zone Tactics (an article from RAND Corporation):


Taiwan vows to improve defenses after soldiers throw rocks at Chinese drone (an article from Radio Free Asia):


Taiwan shoots down drone off Chinese coast for first time (an article from the Guardian):


The 1995-1996 missile crisis in Taiwan aka the Third Taiwan Strait Crisis:




Chinese President: Xi Jinping:


Chinese white paper limits room for Taiwan post-unification: expert (an article from Focus Taiwan):


In a banned tweet, a top state-media commentator reportedly said China could ‘forcibly dispel Pelosi’s plane’ and shoot it down if it flies to Taiwan (an article from Business Insider):


UMC founder Robert Tsao now a Taiwan citizen again (an article from Taiwan News):


Chip Tycoon Vows to Fund Taiwan’s ‘Civilian Army’ Against China:


Taiwan Policy Act:


Senate panel advances bill to bolster US security assistance to Taiwan (an article from CNN):


Taiwan Relations Act:


Taiwan’s Civil Defense Preparedness: T.H. Schee on How to Prepare for the Threat of an Attack (Episode 178):


Will China Attack Taiwan? Kuan-Ting Chen Discusses Ramifications of the War in Ukraine on Taiwan (Episode 175):


Eric Chang on China’s Breach of Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone: Threat or Bluff? (Episode 127):

About the Host

Felicia Lin is the Host and Producer of Talking Taiwan, a podcast which seeks to introduce you to interesting stories connected to Taiwan and the diverse individuals who make up Taiwan’s global community.

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