The Ministry of National Defense (MND) yesterday said it would allow people to visit and see Apache helicopters at the nation’s military bases during open house days or through group applications after a Facebook petition by 270,000 netizens.
“The ministry has always allowed public visits to our military bases on open house days, and during these visits, we also showcase our weaponry,” ministry spokesman Major General David Lo (羅紹和) told a news conference yesterday afternoon.
“There will be a few camp visit events later this year, and we plan to showcase the Apache helicopters to those who might be interested,” he added.
Photo: Chien Jung-fong, Taipei Times
As for people who cannot make it on camp visit days, the ministry would allow visits organized by institutions and groups if they file applications for approval, he said.
However, the military bases would not accommodate individual requests, he said.
“If you are a commander of a military base, would you take individual visitors? Could you handle it if one visitor appears all of a sudden at 9am asking to visit, while another comes at 10am, or when one visitor arrives each minute?” Lo asked.
“If that is the case, it would be impossible to train the troops,” he said.
Lo was responding to reporters’ questions about a Facebook petition to visit the Apache helicopters, with more than 270,000 people signing up.
The petition follows Taoyuan prosecutors’ decision last week not to press charges against 15 military officers and civilians, including celebrity Janet Lee (李蒨蓉), who were given an unauthorized tour of a military base in Longtan District (龍潭), Taoyuan, by 601st Air Cavalry Brigade Lieutenant Colonel Lao Nai-cheng (勞乃成).
Prosecutors quoted the ministry as saying that the base is not designated as a fortress and therefore is not a restricted area as stipulated in the Vital Area Regulations (要塞堡壘地帶法).
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) earlier yesterday called on the ministry to respond to the online petition, while panning the ministry over its “double standards” in defining “restricted areas.”
“It is unacceptable for the public that army corporal Hung Chung-chiu (洪仲丘), an ordinary citizen performing compulsory military service, received severe punishment leading to his death for carrying a cellphone into [a military] camp,” DPP spokesperson Huang Di-ying (黃帝穎) told a separate press conference.
“However, after high-ranking military officers gave tours on a military base and even allowed guests into the cockpit of an Apache helicopter, the ministry made an all-out effort to help them and even thanked the Taoyuan District Prosecutors’ Office for not indicting them,” he said.
“The difference in treatment between an ordinary citizen and a high-ranking officer by the ministry is intolerable and seriously harms the image of the military, Huang said.
He said the ministry should explain its definition of a “fortress” and “restricted areas.”
Proposed legislation in the US outlines three conditions in which Washington would be authorized to protect Taiwan were China to invade, a report said yesterday. US Representative Ted Yoho this month said he would introduce a Taiwan Invasion Prevention Act, which would authorize US military force if China were to invade Taiwan-controlled areas, including its outlying islands. According to a version of the bill obtained by the Chinese-language Liberty Times (the sister paper of the Taipei Times), the bill lists three conditions in which a US president would be authorized to use military force to protect Taiwan: If China uses military force
The Supreme Court on Tuesday found four men guilty of attempted murder in the 2017 stabbing of Spanish surfer Ignacio Prio on a Pingtung County beach in the final ruling in the case, sentencing them to three-and-a-half to six years in prison. The defendants had appealed their convictions for attempted murder in the first and second rulings, which had also led to prison sentences ranging from three-and-a-half years to six years. The then-42-year-old Prio went to Jialeshui Beach (佳樂水) near Kenting (墾丁) on March 31, 2017, was attacked after he asked four men to remove their fishing lines from an area
Two new commuter trains are scheduled to be launched in January next year, the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) said yesterday. The acquisition of EMU-900 commuter train cars is part of the railway operator’s plan to replace 589 train cars that have been in operation for more than three decades. The agency has also placed orders to buy 600 intercity train cars. The first batch of 20 EMU-900 cars is to be delivered to the nation in September, although delivery might be delayed until October due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the agency said. The batch would be formed into two trains of 10
‘IMMORAL, INSINCERE’: Huang Kun-huei said that Ma was ‘distorting history’ in claiming that Lee Teng-hui laid the foundation for the so-called ‘1992 consensus’ Former Presidential Office secretary-general Huang Kun-huei (黃昆輝) on Saturday rejected former president Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) claim that former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) had been a proponent of Beijing’s “one China” principle. Lee, who served as president from 1988 to 2000, died in Taipei on Thursday last week. After visiting the Taipei Guest House on Saturday to pay his respects to Lee, Ma posted on Facebook that “28 years ago on this day” Lee hosted a session of the now-defunct National Unification Council, during which he passed a resolution on the “one China” principle. That resolution became the basis of the Chinese Nationalist Party’s