Taiwan asks Google to blur images of South China Sea island

2016-09-22 16:35

(iStock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Taipei - Taiwan's defence ministry has asked Google to blur images of a new development believed to be for military use on a disputed South China Sea island.

Tensions remain high in the region over conflicting territorial claims, particularly over the strategically important Spratlys chain.

Taiwan administers Taiping island, which is the largest in the Spratlys archipelago. The island chain is also claimed in part or whole by the Philippines, Vietnam and China.

Google satellite images show a circular structure with four Y-shaped attachments, jutting out to sea on Taiping's northwestern coast.

The development comes after Taiwan last year inaugurated a solar-powered lighthouse, an expanded airstrip and a pier as part of efforts to strengthen defence capabilities on Taiping.

The defence ministry said it was in the process of contacting Google on Thursday to ask them to blur the satellite images, but would not comment further on what the structures are.

"It is classified information," the ministry's spokesperson Chen Chung-chi said when asked the reason for the request to Google, which was made after images of the structures surfaced in local media.

Fears over possible military confrontation in the area have grown since an international tribunal ruling in July which rejected Beijing's sweeping claims to almost all of the South China Sea - even waters approaching coasts of the Philippines and other Southeast Asian nations.

China outlines its territory using a vague map that emerged in the 1940s, resulting in an overlap with Taiwan's claims.

The two sides split in 1949 after a civil war on the mainland, but Beijing still sees Taiwan as part of its territory.

Beijing angrily vowed to ignore the verdict from the tribunal in The Hague, prompting a warning from US President Barack Obama who emphasised that the ruling was binding.

Crucially for Taipei, the ruling stated that Taiping was legally a "rock" that did not give it an exclusive economic zone, undermining its claims to the surrounding waters.

Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen, who has yet to visit the island since taking office in May, has said the verdict "severely jeopardised" Taiwan's rights.

Her predecessor Ma Ying-jeou visited Taiping in January to press Taiwan's claims, a move that triggered criticism from the US as well as protests from Vietnam and the Philippines.

Tensions have also been stoked by China's rapid development of reefs in the South China Sea into artificial islands capable of hosting military planes.

Read more on:    google  |  philippines  |  china  |  vietnam  |  taiwan

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.