Taiwan asks Google to blur images of military buildings on disputed island

Taiwan is asking Google to blur satellite images showing what experts say appear to be new military installations on a hotly disputed island in the South China Sea. it is unhappy about Google’s latest satellite images showing a circular structure with four Y-shaped attachments, jutting out to sea on Taiping’s north-western coast. The defence ministry said it was in the process of contacting Google on Thursday to ask them to blur the images but would not comment further on what the structures were. “It is classified information,” the ministry’s spokesman Chen Chung-chi said.

I think definitely it will be for military purposes, but I cannot tell if it is for defending, attacking or monitoring

Dustin Wang, former government adviser who has regularly visited Itu Aba

Taiping, also known as Itu Aba, is part of the Spratly Island chain, which is at the centre of an increasingly tense territorial dispute. Although it is controlled by Taiwan, the island is also claimed by mainland China, Vietnam and the Philippines. Fears over 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. Last year, Taiwan inaugurated a solar-powered lighthouse, an expanded airstrip and a pier as part of efforts to strengthen defence capabilities on Taiping.

We take security concerns very seriously, and are always willing to discuss them with public agencies and officials.

Google spokesman Taj Meadows