Taiwan's military-use hot spring to open to public

TAIPEI - A hot spring located at the Yangmingshan National Park in Taipei that has been previously kept secret and reserved for military use only will be open to the general public soon, local media reported yesterday.

The white sulfur hot spring located inside the Chung-Shan Building (中山樓) complex at Yangmingshan has recently been approved by hot spring experts sent by Taipei City's Department of Economic Development as suitable for public use, the Chinese-language United Evening News said yesterday.

The department promptly asked the Taiwan Water Corporation to dig three new hot spring wells in the vicinity of the original hot spring site.

Related facilities of the previously limited-access hot spring site are expected to be completed soon, the report quoted unidentified department officials as saying.

Once all construction is completed, the city government will make the hot spring available to the public.

Nearby hot spring resorts, hotels, B&B operators and residents will be able to make use of the hot spring by connecting to the hot spring source with pipelines as long as they pay a hot spring usage fee, the report said.

This will mark the first time the government has established such a hot spring supply system at Yangmingshan, according to the newspaper.

The hot spring, better known as "Sun Moon Pool" (日月池), was originally administrated by the military.

It is located at a compound formerly operated by the Ministry of National Defence (MND) to train young recruits, the newspaper said.

For more than 50 years, the hot spring was used only by military personnel and was not open to the public.

The hot spring, however, was previously considered too strong and therefore had to be diluted with extra fresh water before people could make use of it.

Completed in 1966, the Chung-Shan Building previously served as a location for hosting ceremonies by R.O.C. presidents during state visits and conferences and was off limits to the general public until 2005.

The building once served as an exclusive meeting site for the now defunct National Assembly of the Republic of China.

The government has designated the building as a historical monument.