CGA to spend NT$3.3 bil. on Taiping base
By Joseph Yeh ,The China PostTAIPEI, Taiwan -- Taiwan will be spending more than NT$3.3 billion to upgrade the wharf and air strip on Taiping Island in the South China Sea, the Coast Guard Administration (CGA, 海巡署) said yesterday.
October 22, 2013, 12:06 am TWN
The Cabinet approved the project in July and allocated NT$1 billion of the government's 2014 fiscal budget for the upgrade, CGA Minister Wang Ginn-wang (王進旺) said at a legislative session.
The money will be used to make improvements allowing vessels weighing less than 3,000 tons into the port.
NT$58 million of the budget, on the other hand, will be spent on upgrading the airstrip to ensure safer landings and takeoffs, Wang noted.
“The wharf expansion project is aimed at showcasing the Republic of China's sovereignty claim in the region and to beef up the CGA's rescue capability in the area in case of need,” he said.
According to the CGA's proposed timetable, the project will be completed by the end of 2015.
Wang stressed that the CGA will ban Chinese and Vietnamese companies from bidding on the expansion project for national security reasons.
Meanwhile, the minister also stressed that the CGA will take environmental issues into account when conducting the upgrades.
Taiping Island, the largest of the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, is the only island with fresh water in the much-contested area. China, Vietnam and the Philippines also lay partial or total claim to the South China Sea region.
Around 100 coast guards are currently posted on the 1.4 kilometer-long and 0.4 kilometer-wide island, which lies about 1,600 kilometers from Kaohsiung.