The government should build more contingency runways to be used in the event of a Chinese attack on air force bases, Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Tsai Shih-ying (蔡適應) said on Saturday.
The annual Han Kuang military exercises, which ended on Friday, included an aircraft takeoff and landing exercise on a public road to test the military’s ability to adapt if air force runways are destroyed.
However, the exercises highlighted the lack of such contingency runways on the east coast of Taiwan proper, he said.
Photo: Chang Chung-yi, Taipei Times
“On the west coast there are lots of highways that are suitable for the purpose, but on the east coast there are only the bases and public airports in Hualien and Taitung counties,” he said.
With Chinese military aggression toward Taiwan on the rise over the past few years, members of the military and the public have been discussing the possibility of building more contingency runways on the east coast, he said.
Contingency runways on the west coast are all within reach of Chinese missiles, a miltiary official said yesterday, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Therefore, additional runways along the east coast in locations that are obstructed by mountains could prove invaluable in the event of an attack, they said.
The government could consider building a runway in a place like Taitung County’s Luye Township (鹿野), where there is a straight section of land for about 14.5km, they said, adding that military aircraft need only about 2km of runway to take off, so it would be more than enough space.
Chang Yan-ting (張延廷), a retired air marshal and adjunct professor at National Defense University, echoed concerns about the lack of contingency runways on the east coast, saying the area is strategically important and should be better protected.
Su Tzu-yun (蘇紫雲), a researcher at the Institute for National Defense and Security Research, said that more runways on the east coast would help mitigate some of the risk of a missile attack from China, and help bolster the nation’s defenses.
The US Department of State yesterday criticized Beijing over its misrepresentation of the US’ “one China” policy in the latest diplomatic salvo between the two countries over a bid by Taiwan to regain its observer status at the World Health Assembly, the decisionmaking body of the WHO. “The PRC [People’s Republic of China] continues to publicly misrepresent U.S. policy,” Department of State spokesman Ned Price wrote on Twitter. “The United States does not subscribe to the PRC’s ‘one China principle’ — we remain committed to our longstanding, bipartisan one China policy, guided by the Taiwan Relations Act, Three Joint Communiques, and
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