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Taiwan president visits Patriot missile base on Lunar New Year’s Day

Tour of Xindian Air Force base not open to media

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President Tsai Ing-wen visits a Patriot missile base on Lunar New Year's Day. (CNA, Presidential Office photo)

President Tsai Ing-wen visits a Patriot missile base on Lunar New Year's Day. (CNA, Presidential Office photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A Patriot missile base was one of the stops on President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) itinerary for Lunar New Year’s Day Tuesday (Feb. 1).

While she also met with police officers, firefighters, rescue workers, and utility staff working during the holidays, the visit to the Air Force missile unit in New Taipei City’s Xindian District attracted special attention because of the recurrent incursions by Chinese military aircraft into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ), the Liberty Times reported.

Her visit was not open to the media, though the Presidential Office later released pictures for use by the press. Protection of the capital with Patriot missiles is in the hands of three bases: one in Xindian, one in Taipei’s Nangang District, and one on the north coast in New Taipei’s Wanli District.

President Tsai was reportedly shown the setup for a missile launch, but parts of the explanations by Air Force specialists were muted in the commentary released to the media, according to the Liberty Times.

Taiwan has an estimated 400 Patriot missiles, including Patriot Advanced Capability PAC-2 missiles which were later upgraded to PAC-3s. An expected 300 PAC-3 Missile Segment Enhancement (MSE) units are scheduled to arrive in 2025 and 2026.