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DEFENSE/Air Force urged to reconsider plan to build runway in Taitung

07/09/2024 08:44 PM
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A F-16V fighter jet. CNA file photo
A F-16V fighter jet. CNA file photo

Taipei, July 9 (CNA) Several opposition Kuomintang (KMT) lawmakers on Tuesday urged the military to reconsider its plan to transform a section of a road in Taitung County into an emergency airstrip, saying the proposal could destroy nearby farmland.

The Ministry of National Defense (MND) is reportedly planning to upgrade a portion of Provincial Highway No. 9 in Taitung's Guanshan Township so that the road could be used as a military runway in the event of a defensive war with China.

KMT lawmakers Huang Chien-pin (黃建賓), Sra Kacaw (鄭天財) and Huang Jen (黃仁), as well as Taitung County Magistrate Yao Ching-ling (饒慶鈴), Guanshan township chief Peng Cheng-feng (彭成豐) and around 100 local residents from Guanshan Township expressed their opposition to the MND's plan, which they said could impact residents' livelihoods.

"Is it reasonable to destroy the important granary in Hualien and Taitung on the east coast of Taiwan to build an emergency runway even though there is no war yet?" Huang asked at a press event held at the Legislative Yuan on Tuesday morning.

Huang said that while he completely supports enhancing Taiwan's national defense capabilities, he is opposed to building an emergency runway in Guanshan without thorough communication with local residents and proper planning.

In response, the Air Force said it has worked with the Taitung County government to convene two coordination meetings and two briefing sessions to address public concerns, and will continue to take public feedback into account.

The airstrip proposal is part of broader improvement works to the highway that have been made in coordination with the Ministry of Transportation and Communications' Highways Bureau, the Air Force said.

The plan is designed to minimize any impact on residents' livelihoods, and are a response to a potential enemy threat, according to the Air Force.

(By Wang Cheng-chung, Tyson Lu and Evelyn Kao)

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