Taiwan fired warning shots at a Chinese drone which buzzed an offshore islet on Tuesday shortly after Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen said she had ordered Taiwan's military to take "strong countermeasures" against what she termed Chinese provocations.

It was the first time such warning shots have been fired during a period of heightened tensions between China and Taiwan. Beijing views the island as its own territory, while Taiwan strongly disputes China's sovereignty claims.

The drone headed back to China after the shots were fired, a military spokesperson said.