The US, Japan, and Taiwan have agreed to share real-time reconnaissance drone data to bolster military coordination, according to a report by Financial Times.
Citing four sources, the outlet explained that the initiative would help the island nation prepare for a potential Chinese invasion.
Taipei is set to receive four MQ-9B Sea Guardian drones from General Atomics under a $600-million deal signed during the administration of former US President Donald Trump.
The systems are expected to provide a crucial capability to the country, which China claims as part of its territory.
Washington would reportedly allow the drones to integrate into the unmanned system US and Japanese forces use to monitor Beijing.
The report further stated that the integration would allow the US and its partners to simultaneously observe and assess all the information gathered by their reconnaissance platforms.
Why is it Important?
China has ramped up its military activities around Taiwan recently, including a simulation of precision strikes and an island blockade.
Just this week, more than 30 Chinese warplanes entered Taiwan’s air defense zone over six hours, causing the island nation to dispatch patrol planes, naval vessels, and missile systems.
Sharing data from drones would enhance Taipei’s ability to gain a complete, real-time picture of the People’s Liberation Army’s movements and predict its strategies.
“We will be taking a practical approach towards ensuring that integration is done as quickly as possible,” one source said.
‘An Escalatory Move’
A senior US military official claimed that the move to share drone intel among Washington, Tokyo, and Taipei is a “big taboo” that China might view as “escalatory.”
China has warned against forming alliances in the Asia-Pacific, saying it would exaggerate confrontations and plunge the region into “a whirlpool of disputes and conflicts.”
Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin has called on the US and Japan to stop provoking tensions that impact stability around the Taiwan Strait.
“We firmly oppose military contact between Taiwan and countries that have established diplomatic ties with China,” he added.