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Mainland Affairs Council

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TAIPEI ON TMD : Will the Republic of China Participate in the Theater Missile Defense ?

  • We promote regional stability and prosperity, and oppose arms race.
  • Beijing's militant behavior is threatening regional stability.
  • We reserve the inalienable right of self-defense, and our decision whether to participate in the TMD stands under such right.
  • Beijing's behavior will ultimately determine whether we decide to participate in the TMD.
  • Only Mainland China's democratization can assure regional stability and prosperity.

In March 1996, Beijing lobbed missiles at Taiwan. Since then, the People's Liberation Army has deployed more than 100 of its newest M-9 and M-11 missiles across the Taiwan Straits, and the number may reach 650 by 2005, according to Pentagon. In August 1998, North Korea launched missiles over Japan. These incidents and security threats from elsewhere prompted the US to more than double its ballistic-missile-defense budget in February 1999 to a record $10 billion dollars between now and 2005. A part of the program is the Theater Missile Defense, designed to neutralize ballistic missile attacks in North East Asia.

Will the Republic of China participate in the development and employment of TMD? Our views follow.

  • We promote regional stability and prosperity,, and oppose arms race. Our economic development has garnered the accolade of "Taiwan miracle", and is a major source of our people's much enhanced well-being. To insure our continued prosperity, we must actively promote regional stability and fully support any effort toward it. To engage in an arms race siphons off the life-blood of one's economy. We oppose arms race, as it is incompatible with our national interest.
  • Beijing's militant behavior is threatening regional stability. Beijing has not renounced the use of force against Taiwan, which Beijing has from time to time reiterated. Beijing's military build-up substantiates its militant rhetoric. Since 1989, its official defense budget--not to mention the actual expenditure--has grown at double-digit, far outstripping the inflation rate. Its post-strait-crisis military exercises, at frequency no lower than the previous, have contained scenarios of sea-crossing, airborne, urban-warfare, and subtropical-jungle operations. These are expressly targeted at Taiwan. Beijing's vigorous arms acquisitions, both through indigenous and foreign sources, have progressed rapidly.
  • We reserve the inalienable right of self-defense, and our decision whether to participate in the TMD stands under such right. In 1991, we annulled the "Temporary Statute on Mobilization during the Communist Rebellion". By that, we switched to a defensive strategic posture from an offensive one aiming to recover the Chinese mainland by force. Beijing to this day has not followed suit. It has maintained an offensive strategic posture--a relic of the Cold War--toward us. Our self-defense, like our survival, is an inalienable right commonly shared by all nations. TMD, by definition, is a system of defense, not offense. The Republic of China is an independent and sovereign country. We reserve the right to decide whether to participate in the TMD. Beijing's opposition on this matter merely belies its intent of aggression.
  • Beijing's behavior will ultimately determine whether we decide to participate in the TMD. The proliferation of massive-destruction weapons into the hands of irresponsible states poses a threat to not only regional but also global peace and stability. Against this threat TMD may offer some prospects of deterrence and defense. However, we fully realize the evolving nature of the TMD technology, the sizable financial commitment involved, and the strategic uncertainties of cross-strait relations. We, as peace-loving nation, are seriously concerned with the issue, and are cautiously assessing it before making our decision thereon. There are many factors influencing our assessment. But Beijing's behavior as such, or possible reduction thereof in the future, will ultimately determine whether we decide to participate in the TMD.
  • Only Mainland China's democratization can assure regional stability and prosperity. Our democratization--the bloodless and peaceful revolution--has won global recognition. As the world enters the 21st century, the sweeping waves of democracy can no longer be held back. While we have chosen the right side of history, Beijing has not. We hope Beijing will soon. So hopes the rest of the world. Between democracies, few wars have occurred in this centuries, and none since the end of World War II. In the long run, only if mainland China democratizes can regional stability and prosperity be assured.