Mon, Jan 10, 2005 - Page 2 News List

New armored vehicle not for Chen, ministry says

CNA , TAIPEI

The Ministry of National Defense refuted a media report yesterday that the military has spent NT$60 million manufacturing a new eight-wheel armored vehicle for emergency use by President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and his family.

"The military has just completed research and development of a new armored vehicle style which has not been put into mass production," the ministry's Office of Military Spokesman said in a press statement.

The new-style armored vehicle, which has been developed under a project code-named Clouded Leopard, has just undergone initial testing, the statement said. It is premature to calculate the cost of each new-style armored vehicle, it added.

The press release further said that local news media have frequently speculated on military defense affairs without bothering to verify their reports.

"We are hopeful that local media can exercise prudence in dealing with defense-related affairs to avoid endangering national security and violating existing national security regulations," the statement said.

An evening newspaper claimed yesterday that the military has spent NT$60 million producing an eight-wheel armored vehicle for emergency use by the first family.

The report said Chen will preside over the commissioning of the vehicle at a military-run factory in the central county of Nantou on Jan. 11.

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