The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus yesterday said that it would continue to push for its plan to inspect the Pratas Islands (Dongsha Islands, 東沙群島) after the Ministry of National Defense canceled a planned visit citing insufficient review time.
The KMT said that the cancelation was politically motivated.
KMT Legislator Chen Yu-jen (陳玉珍), convener of the Internal Administration Committee, on Saturday last week announced that the committee planned to inspect the islands yesterday to boost the morale of Coast Guard Administration personnel stationed there.
Photo: Wang Yi-sung, Taipei Times
The ministry said it disallowed the trip because there was not enough time between the official request Chen sent to the ministry and the planned date of the visit.
KMT Legislator Lin Yi-hua (林奕華) said there have been six visits, four to the Pratas Islands and two to Itu Aba Island (Taiping Island, 太平島) in as many years, indicating that such visits are commonplace.
The KMT is willing to wait for the ministry to complete its “due procedures” and will continue to apply to visit the Pratas Islands, Lin said.
Chen yesterday accused Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Wang Ting-yu (王定宇) of leaking classified material by posting video clips on Facebook of an aerial view of the Pratas Islands during a visit on May 24, 2018.
There is disproportionate distrust of the KMT, whose visits are considered a risk of leaks of classified information, whereas Wang’s actions received no criticism, Chen said.
Wang repeated comments from Wednesday, saying that such trips are not a walk in the park to be taken at any time.
Chen should look up the definition of “classified,” he said, adding that his videos, an aerial shot of the sea, were not “secrets.”
Meanwhile, the Ocean Affairs Council said that coast guard personnel should not worry about outside factors so they can focus on their duties.
As for the summer camp event that Wang attended, it was a collaborative effort that had run since 2011, with students attending ecological conservation courses, the council said.
The cameras on personal devices of all who attended were covered with special stickers, which reduced the chances of classified material being leaked, it said.
While the council has jurisdiction over the islands, the ministry has control over visits, as the Pratas, like the Spratley Islands (Nansha Islands, 南沙群島), are restricted areas.
The chief mechanic in an air force unit from which an F-16 and its pilot went missing last week died on Sunday evening in what might have been a suicide, the Ministry of National Defense said yesterday. The ministry in a statement confirmed media reports that the mechanic, surnamed Huang (黃), “hurt himself” at a military barracks. Huang was taken to Hualien Armed Forces General Hospital after he was found unresponsive in the barracks, but doctors could not revive him, the ministry said. Huang served in the 26th Tactical Fighter Group of the 5th Tactical Fighter Wing, the same unit as the missing
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) last night said that it had no comment about reports that a senior US Navy officer had arrived in Taipei for a visit. Several media outlets reported that Rear Admiral Michael Studeman, director of intelligence of the US Indo-Pacific Command, arrived at Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) on a special charter flight at about 7pm. The schedule of a “senior US official” in Taiwan would not be made public, the ministry said in a news release, without confirming the visit or the official’s identity. Interactions and exchanges between Taiwan and the US are common, and visits
NON-TYPICAL: Apart from Atsani, storms in autumn missed Taiwan, rainfall has been lower and average temperatures have been higher, a CWB forecaster said The current water shortage is expected to worsen in the next few months, with the Central Weather Bureau (CWB) yesterday forecasting a colder, dryer winter than normal. With winter starting next week, the bureau at a media briefing outlined the expected conditions through February and reviewed autumn’s significant weather events. Weather Forecast Center director Lu Kuo-cheng (呂國臣) said that autumn this year had three major characteristics: First, 13 tropical storms and typhoons formed from September to this month, up from 11 in the same period last year, Lu said. Apart from Atsani, for which sea and land alerts were issued in Taiwan, the tropical
The US’ inclusion of Taiwan in its Indo-Pacific Strategy is geared toward weakening Beijing’s influence in Southeast Asia, as well as providing a Blue Dot Network to counter China’s Belt and Road Initiative, a senior Executive Yuan member said yesterday. Taiwan and the US would be seeking further collaboration on infrastructure construction and energy, said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The US and Taiwan signed a memorandum of understanding on the Framework to Strengthen Infrastructure, Finance and Market Cooperation on Sept. 17, which would see the Ministry of Finance and the US Department of the Treasury establishing respective task