Taiwan will not develop nuclear weapon: defense ministry

02/21/2016 05:09 PM
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Taipei, Feb. 21 (CNA) Taiwan will continue to maintain its stance of not developing or storing nuclear weapons, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) said Sunday, in response to a U.S. magazine article that revealed Taiwan's efforts to acquire such weapons in the 1970s.

"Taiwan has clearly declared that its military will act in accordance with international conventions and government policies, and will not produce, develop, acquire, store or use nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons. That stance will not change," the MND said in a statement.

It was responding to an article published by The Diplomat on Saturday that revealed the U.S.'s attempts to stop Taiwan from acquiring advanced nuclear technology in the 1970s, citing declassified documents released by the U.S. government.

According to the article, Taiwan entered into an agreement with the United States in 1976 that it would not develop facilities to reprocess spent fuel, after the International Atomic Energy Agency discovered Taiwan's attempts to produce weapons-grade plutonium and enrich uranium.

Taiwan was later discovered to have violated the agreement, prompting a warning from U.S. President Jimmy Carter that if Taiwan continued its efforts, Washington could no longer "continue supporting nuclear export licenses for [Taiwan's] power program," according to the article.

The article said Taiwan's interest in acquiring nuclear weapons increased after China acquired such weapons in the 1960s, but the U.S. worried that Taiwan's move would escalate tensions across the Taiwan Strait.

(By Lu Hsin-hui and Christie Chen) ENDITEM/ke

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