Missile base plan disclosed in art project document

The China Post news staff

The planning of a missile base in Kaohsiung has been inadvertently exposed in a military document sent out to invite bidders for a project to install works of public art there, a report said yesterday. The defense ministry said it would not comment on sensitive and confidential matters such as military deployments and facilities. The United Evening News said the military is constructing its first Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) missile base in Southern Taiwan.

But the design of the Kaotan Base, located on a nine-hectare plot of land on the borders of Kaohsiung’s suburban Niusung and Renwu districts, has been revealed in the bidding document for the public installation art project. According to the law, any public facilities need to have public installations on their premises, the newspaper said. The missile base is no exception. The document provides information on the size of the land and the locations of all of its structures, including the bunkers sheltering the missiles. According to the document, as cited by the newspaper, there will be nine bunkers with concrete shelters 20-centimer thick. There will be plants on top of the concrete covers. Construction of the base has yet to begin, according to the paper.

The public installation art project has a budget of NT$7.88 million. The plan is to erect two pieces of installation art �X one near the main entrance of the base and another near the entrance to the missile area.

The deadline for submitting bids was already over in March. The military is currently screening the bidders.

The military actually considers the installation art to be a waste, according to the paper, as the base will not be open to the public. The disclosure of the design of the Kaotan Base has also raised concern, the paper added. The Kaotan Base will be a completely new facility built from scratch. Most of the existing missile bases have been converted from older military facilities.

The paper said the military has another plan to build a new Patriot missile base in Northern Taiwan. There are already three Patriot missile bases in the Greater Taipei area. Military officials were cited as saying that Taiwan’s missile defense system for the next 10 years will rely mostly on PAC-3 missiles supplied by the United States and the locally developed Sky Bow 3 (Tien Kung 3) missiles.