Google has unintentionally exposed some of Taiwan’s hidden surface-to-air missile sites after releasing updated maps of the island nation last week.
Google’s impressively detailed renderings of Taipei, New Taipei, Taoyuan and Taichung revealed to the world a clean view at some of the territory’s defence infrastructure, including views of the National Security Bureau, secret Patriot missile bases and the Military intelligence Bureau.
The finding was first reported by local outlet Taiwan News last Friday.
Tensions between Taiwan, a self-ruled democratic territory, and China trace back to the 17th and 18th centuries, with strong military and political tensions escalating and de-escalating over the last century.
China has declared in the past that they are willing to use military force to achieve reunification if necessary, which makes a leak like this something to be concerned about for Taiwanese authorities.
Minister of National Defense Yen De-fa has urged the public to keep calm and played down the incident, insisting that the “location of defence infrastructure in times of peace does not indicate its location during times of war.” The Ministry is in talks with Google to find a solution for upcoming updates.
“Actually, the confidential parts are all inside the structures which would be highly difficult to expose through the 3D maps,” a defence official told the South China Morning Post in an attempt to pour some cold water over the speculation.
This hasn’t been the first time the island has faced a similar situation. Back in 2016, the Taiwanese defense ministry had to ask Google to blur out a military installation on an island in the South China Sea known as Itu Aba.