Army Says It Found Unidentified Floating Object Over Dongyin 東引不明物從天降 初判中國氣象探測儀器

An unidentified object was spotted falling from the sky over Dongyin island, which is Taiwan's northernmost territory. While the preliminary investigation shows it is a weather balloon from China, National Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng said the relevant departments have collected the remains for further evaluation.

Taiwan's Army says it found an unidentified floating object over Dongyin Area Command Headquarters on the 16th and that it found remnants of a balloon with simplified Chinese characters written on it on its shooting range. The Army believes it was a weather monitoring balloon. On the 17th, National Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng said the object looks very much like a weather balloon and he isn't making any assumptions at this point.

Chiu Kuo-cheng, National Defense Minister: “This may or may not be a weather balloon, but we're going to give our enemies the benefit of the doubt. I'm not going to assume anything, so I sent a team to investigate. We will announce the results at a later date.”

Chiu was then asked if a weather balloon floating over or around Taiwan constitutes a "first strike" by China. Chiu said it would be something that has to be dealt with. He also said Matsu's undersea cables getting cut by passing vessels was nothing short of a national security crisis.

Chiu Kuo-cheng, National Defense Minister: “If communication is cut off, it could be very dangerous. However, as I just said, the military has response plans.”

As no photos of the balloon remnants the military says it found have been released, lawmakers say the military and MND are trying to cover up the incident. TPP lawmaker Chiu Cheng-yuan says if a national security incident really occurred, the ministry should have kept it quiet. KMT lawmaker Chen Yu-jen, meanwhile, says ocean trash should not be treated as a national security issue.

Chen Yu-jen, Legislator (KMT): “We need more cross-Strait dialogue and communication to deal with ocean trash. I highly doubt this balloon is a national security threat.”

Su Tzu-yun, Director, Div. of Defense Strategy & Resources, INDSR: “Civil weather balloons may also be used by the military. Atmospheric data can be used to guide missiles or fire artillery.”

Analysts say the balloon did not have a motor and probably went off course due to currents. Nevertheless, the military says balloons are a new war tool and it must be very careful.











專題|改造地獄路 台灣行人路為何難行?