Wed, Jun 02, 2004 - Page 2 News List

Air force claims map error was its, not Lee Jye's

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The air force yesterday said that Minister of National Defense Lee Jye (李傑) was actually locating the "middle line" of the Taiwan Strait according to the information transcribed from military coordinates, not making a mistake as some in the media accused him of doing when responding to lawmakers' questions last week.

"This was an administrative error by us," said Major General Chou Meng-pai (周夢白), deputy chief of the general staff of Air Force General Headquarters.

"We use military coordinates all the time. For the minister, we gave him transcribed information so it would be easier for the public to understand. Obviously, there was a mistake there," the general said.

Chou made the remarks during a regular press conference by the ministry yesterday morning.

Chou emphasized that the location of the "middle line" has never changed and coordinates given by the minister were due to a mistake in the transcribing process.

Regarding Lee's comment at the Legislative Yuan that Chinese military aircraft would be shot down if they enter the nation's "hunting zone," Chou said that the air force will "take care of the trespassers" by following certain "procedures" but he refused to go into detail, saying the matter was confidential.

During a question and answer session at the Legislative Yuan last Wednesday, Lee said the "middle line" of the Strait runs from 23 degrees north latitude, 119 degrees east longitude to 27 degrees north latitude, 123 degrees east longi-tude, as defined by the US in 1951.

But media reports last Friday said that Lee's information was wrong. They said the line as defined by Lee ran along the west coast of Taiwan rather than through the middle of the Strait. The media said that the correct location should have been one degree west of the one given by Lee.

News reports noted that one degree amounts to a difference of 100km and condemned the ministry for making the error.

Last Saturday, the ministry issued a correction, saying that the line should run from 26 degrees 30 minutes north latitude, 121 degrees 23 minutes east longitude to 24 degrees 50 minutes north latitude, 119 degrees 59 minutes east longitude, to 23 degrees 17 minutes north latitude, 117 degrees 51 minutes east longitude.

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