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Taiwan to talk with Google over exposed missile position

2019/02/15 21:06:11

Google Map photo

Taipei, Feb. 15 (CNA) National security authorities will talk with Google over satellite imagery showing the exact locations of Taiwan's Patriot missiles on Google Map, Minister of National Defense Yen De-fa (嚴德發) said Friday.

The American multinational technology company's widely used search engine recently began posting 3D images of Taipei, New Taipei, Taoyuan and Taichung cities as part of its new map services, but netizens soon discovered that the National Security Bureau (NSB), Military Intelligence Bureau (MIB), and the country's Patriot missile installation in Xindian district, all classified venues located in the greater Taipei area, were exposed in detail.

Speaking to reporters at the Legislative Yuan on Friday, Yen assured the public that relevant authorities will soon negotiate with Google over the issue.

"The site of a military base does not equally mean its fixed position during wartime," he said, as he tried to assure the public that the exposure will not affect Taiwan's military operations.

Protection from being revealed by Google's mapping project may be viable under the Vital Area Regulations, but whether the scope of the law covers the concealment of military sites across the country requires further discussion, the defense minister said.

A defense official who asked not to be named told CNA Friday that Google's satellite imagery of Taiwan's Patriot missile location are most likely outdated, because the military routinely shifts its defense facilities to conceal them and deceive the enemy.

The Patriot missile is a surface-to-air missile (SAM) system and highly mobile. It is primarily used by the United States' military and several of its allied nations.

The official said the missile platforms shown on Google Map are likely to be old images.

Kevin Cheng (鄭繼文), editor-in-chief of Asia-Pacific Defense Magazine, agreed that Patriot missile platforms are largely mobile and that there is not a fixed site for launching, especially during wartime.

(By Matt Yu, Wang Yang-yu and Ko Lin)
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