Two classified naval charts were reported missing when an inventory was carried out amid the decommissioning of aging Hai Ou (“Seagull”) missile boats last month, and the information they contained could put navy vessels at risk during wartime, reports said yesterday.
According to the Chinese-language United Daily News, navy officers who had custody over the documents accidentally burned one of the two missing charts while destroying other documents, but the other, which contained classified information about naval deployments in the Taiwan Strait, remains unaccounted for.
The missing chart reportedly contained hydrographic data, ship information, waterways depth, sea salt fluctuation and the locations of navy vessels and submarines in wartime.
Photo: Military News Agency
The information could leave navy vessels exposed if it were to fall in enemy hands, reports said.
Naval Command said two control officers had received demerits over the affair and added that it had turned the case to a local military court for possible prosecution. It said it had also instructed all relevant units to tighten management of confidential information.
The navy decommissioned its last 20 Hai Ou missile boats during a ceremony at the Zuoying (左營) naval base in Greater Kaohsiung on July 1. The ships, whose design was inspired by Israel’s Dvora-class patrol boats, had been in service for about three decades. Each Hai Ou — a total of 50 were deployed — came equipped with locally produced Hsiung Feng I (HF-1) anti-ship missiles.
Amid modernization efforts, three squadrons of Kuang Hua VI (KH-6) radar-evading fast-attack missile boats have entered service since 2010. Each of the 31 KH-6s is armed with the more advanced HF-2 anti-ship missile.
The embarrassment over the disappearance of the classified chart comes after the Ministry of National Defense (MND) admitted last month that it had launched an investigation into the disappearance in May of a top-secret laptop used on a KH-6 vessel.
The computer, which belonged to the Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology’s (CSIST) — the nation’s top military research body — had been installed for a six-month period, during which the ship’s crew carried out tests of confidential communications equipment and procedures.
The Southern District Prosecutors’ Office is handling the investigation into the computer’s disappearance.
Additional reporting by CNA
Days after it was banned in China, a Mandarin ballad satirizing nationalistic Chinese Internet users is trending at No. 1 on YouTube in Taiwan and Hong Kong. Fragile (玻璃心), by Taiwan-based Malaysian rapper Namewee (黃明志) and Australian singer Kimberley Chen (陳芳語), offers a tongue-in-cheek apology to “little pink” Internet users, a disparaging term that describes patriotic “keyboard warriors” from China. After racking up more than 9 million views on YouTube, the song reached No. 3 on the site in Malaysia on Thursday, according to Kworb, a Web site that analyzes music data from around the world. It is also the only Chinese-language
NO CHANGE: US officials indicated that the ‘one China’ policy remains in place, while the NATO chief avoided discussing Biden’s comment in an effort to ease tensions US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said on Friday that the Pentagon would continue to support Taiwan’s military, but he declined to say if US troops would defend the island against China, after US President Joe Biden said there was a US “commitment” to do so. “As we’ve done over multiple administrations, we will continue to help Taiwan with the sorts of capabilities that it needs to defend itself,” Austin said at NATO headquarters. “So we’ll stay focused on those things, and I won’t engage in any hypotheticals with respect to Taiwan,” he told reporters. Biden on Thursday sparked a new firestorm
PROTECTION: The Ministry of Health and Welfare is aiming for a full vaccination rate of 30 percent, and allowing mixed first and second doses to boost coverage rates Whether Taiwan reopens its borders would depend on the nation’s vaccination coverage rate and the COVID-19 situation in other countries, Deputy Minister of Health and Welfare Shih Chung-liang (石崇良) said yesterday. The Ministry of Health and Welfare is aiming for a 70 percent first-dose vaccination coverage and 30 percent two-dose coverage as part of its consideration, Shih told a media briefing following the weekly Cabinet meeting. In spite of a relatively stable COVID-19 situation in Taiwan, and calls from foreign missions and businesses in the country to allow more international travelers, the government is maintaining strict border control measures. Since March last year,
The nationwide level 2 COVID-19 alert, which is set to expire on Monday next week, is to be extended, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said yesterday. Chen, who heads the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), told reporters before heading to a meeting at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei that the COVID-19 alert level “will not be lowered on November 2,” but he did not say how long the extension would be. Taiwan has been under level 2 alert, the third-highest on the nation’s four-tier scale, since July 27. The CECC yesterday reported eight new COVID-19 infections — six imported