Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers yesterday raised questions over whether the military had leaked confidential information about its accidental firing of a missile earlier yesterday, saying that a Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) official had posted details about the incident on Facebook even before Premier Lin Chuan (林全) was briefed about it.
“The missile incident occurred at 8:15am, and a civilian reported the incident — the navy ship [from which the missile was fired] and the type of the missile [that was fired] on Facebook,” DPP Legislator Wang Ting-yu (王定宇) wrote on Facebook. “The [civilian’s Facebook] post appeared earlier than the earliest media report on the incident at 9:13am. I suspect that someone might have leaked confidential information, and prosecutors should conduct an investigation.”
Although Wang did not give the name of the civilian, DPP Legislator Lo Chih-cheng (羅致政) said it was KMT Central Policy Committee director Alex Tsai (蔡正元).
“[National defense officials] have said that Tsai learned about it because people living along the coast heard the noise of the missile firing,” Lo said. “That might be true, but only people in the military would have known what type of missile was fired and the name of the ship from which it was fired.”
Tsai learned about the missile firing — which hit a Taiwanese fishing boat, killing one person on board — before the premier, who was briefed about the incident at about 9am, a Cabinet official who spoke on condition of anonymity said.
In response to the criticism, Tsai told the Chinese-language Apple Daily that there was no information leak, because the information was not confidential.
DPP lawmakers also condemned the ministry for making such a serious mistake.
“According to what the ministry told me, the detonation system for the missile would not have been activated in this type of drill, so who activated the detonation system?” Wang asked. “Also, there would have been a series of checks before a missile could be fired, so what happened during the process?”
DPP caucus executive director Wu Ping-jui (吳秉叡) said the ministry should thoroughly investigate the incident and explain to the public what happened.
“Otherwise, how can we guarantee the safe passage of civilian ships from around the world in waters surrounding the nation?” Wu asked.
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