Sat, Oct 17, 2009 - Page 4 News List

Presidential Office angry over leaks

By Hsu Shao-hsuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

High-level Presidential Office staff were unhappy with leaks that led to reports President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) observed a missile exercise on Tuesday, sources said yesterday.

Citing a “reliable military source,” Chinese-language newspapers reported on Wednesday that a major missile exercise had been carried out on Tuesday at Jioupeng (九鵬) base in Pingtung County and that Ma had been among the observers.

The reports said the missiles tested included the Hsiung-Feng 2E (HF-2E), which has a range of around 600km and has not yet officially entered the military’s inventory.

Both the Presidential Office and the Ministry of National Defense declined to confirm or deny the reports on Wednesday.

Sources said yesterday that senior officials had ordered an investigation of the Presidential Office and the ministry to determine who leaked the information about the exercise and Ma’s attendance.

Sources said the timing of the leak was sensitive because the reported exercise came one day before the Mainland Affairs Council announced that Taichung had been selected as the venue for the fourth meeting between Straits Exchange Foundation Chairman Chiang Pin-kung (江丙坤) and president of China’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits, Chen Yunlin (陳雲林).

The Chinese-language United Evening News, meanwhile, reported yesterday that the missile tests had not been a success.

The ministry, in keeping with its usual practice, declined to comment on the paper’s story.

In his annual presidential address on Double Ten National Day, Ma said Taiwan would “never ignore the other side’s military threat despite significant improvements in cross-strait ties.”

China celebrated 60 years of Chinese Communist Party rule on Oct. 1 with a parade in Tiananmen Square that spotlighted its high-tech weapons, including intercontinental ballistic missiles.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY STAFF WRITER

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