Sat, Jun 18, 2011 - Page 2 News List

Air force warns against Chinese tourists at bases

By Rich Chang  /  Staff Reporter

Tourists visit the Hualien Airbase on May 29.

Photo: Yu Tai-lang, Taipei Times

The Republic of China (ROC) Air Force yesterday called on travel agencies to help prevent Chinese tourists from visiting military bases that are open to the public.

The air force said that travel agencies should not arrange for Chinese tourists to visit any bases or attend military shows.

Meanwhile, the air force added that the military only opens the nation’s military bases to ROC nationals and Taiwanese should have their ROC ID cards with them in order to clear security checks if they wish to visit a military base.

The statement came in the wake of a report that several Chinese tourists were expelled from the Hualien Air Force Base last month after they were found to be attending a military show.

On May 29, a military show open to the public was held at the Hualien base. Various weapon systems, including F-16s, Mirage-2000s, IDF fighter aircraft and Hawk missiles were on display.

A group of Chinese tourists entered the base by bus without undergoing a security check. Once inside the base, the tourists were reported to have taken several pictures.

Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau agents who were at the base discovered the Chinese tourists and informed the base about the matter. The base then expelled the tourists.

According to regulations, visitors have to present their ROC ID cards and register before they are allowed to watch a military show at any of the nation’s military bases. However, the Hualien base did not check IDs that day.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Herman Shuai (帥化民) said yesterday that actual military secrets would not be evident during a military show.

However, Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯) said the incident suggested that there are gaps in the nation’s national security system.

The incident comes as a program is set to begin before the end of this month which will open Taiwan to free independent travelers from China, allowing a maximum of 500 Chinese a day to arrive for a period of no more than 15 days.

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