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Taiwan should not consider developing nuclear weapons: U.S. scholars

2018/01/18 15:31:21

Washington, Jan. 17 (CNA) American scholars on Wednesday expressed opposition to the idea of Taiwan developing nuclear weapons for defense purposes amid instability in the Asia Pacific region, saying it would be counterproductive.

At a public seminar hosted by the Global Taiwan Institute in Washington D.C., the scholars said such a move would be against public opinion in Taiwan and would hurt relations with the United States.

They were responding to questions about whether Taiwan should consider developing nuclear weapons, as the panel discussion focused on how Taiwan should engage with its neighbors in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region amid the U.S.' execution of its strategy to bring about trade and political liberalization in the region.

In the past, the U.S. has opposed any suggestion of Taiwan developing nuclear weapons, said Bonnie Glaser, a senior adviser for the Asia project and director of the China Power Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

Given the importance of Taiwan's relationship with the U.S., it would be detrimental to engage in behavior that the U.S. does not agree with, Glaser said at the seminar, which was titled "Taiwan's Role in the Indo-Asia-Pacific."

Furthermore, there is no public consensus in Taiwan for such a move, Glaser said.

Also addressing the question, Zach Cooper, a senior fellow for Asian security at the CSIS, said developing nuclear weapons would not only damage Taiwan's relations with the U.S., but would also make Taiwan more susceptible to attacks by China.

By focusing on developing nuclear weapons, which are for high-intensity conflicts, Taiwan will compromise its capability to fend off attacks in low-intensity, limited conflicts, Cooper said.

(By Leaf Jiang and Kuan-lin Liu)
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