1. (SBU) In response to reftel, AIT/T offers the following information on maritime security issues in Taiwan. Taiwan's cooperation with the U.S. on maritime security issues is excellent, due in part to the importance of the shipping industry to the island's economy and Taiwan's exclusion from international organizations like the International Maritime Organization. AIT and DHS in cooperation with Taiwan authorities are finishing preparations to establish a Container Security Initiative (CSI) presence in the Port of Kaohsiung. We have also proposed to Taiwan the implementation of the Department of Energy's (DOE) Megaports program in Kaohsiung. AIT Taipei's (AIT/T) Economic Section working closely with AIT Kaohsiung (AIT/K) is responsible for coordinating maritime security issues. We look forward to the CSI presence to enhance that effort. End summary.
2. (SBU) Taiwan's maritime security cooperation with the U.S. is excellent. It has enthusiastically welcomed U.S. proposals to establish the CSI and Megaports programs in Taiwan's harbors. Taiwan's cooperation on maritime security is due in part to its desire to maintain Kaohsiung's competitiveness as traffic in Mainland China's ports grows more rapidly. Because Taiwan is not a member of the IMO it cannot participate directly in many international maritime security initiatives. This situation also enhances Taiwan's willingness to participate indirectly via U.S. government channels and to cooperate with U.S. initiatives. Taiwan would welcome more engagement from DHS/ICE, CBP and the U.S. Coast Guard on maritime security. Taiwan's Kaohsiung Harbor is the world's sixth largest container port.
Programs in Implementation
3. (U) CSI -- DHS/ICE is currently finalizing discussions with AIT Washington on the establishment of a CSI presence in the Port of Kaohsiung. A DHS/ICE assessment team visited the harbor in September 2004. The Taiwan government has identified office space for the CSI officials and is working with AIT and DHS/ICE to make the necessary preparations. A TDY DHS/ICE officer will arrive in late March to finalize local preparations if the DHS/AIT memorandum of agreement on implementation is completed by that time. We hope that the first CSI officers will arrive in the coming months.
4. (U) Megaports -- On instruction from the Department of Energy, we have expressed to the Taiwan authorities USG interest in implementing the Megaports program in Taiwan. The various Taiwan agencies that would be involved in Megaports implementation have all responded positively. We have asked them to identify a time when a DOE team might come to Taiwan to discuss the program's details. Taiwan's Executive Yuan Counter-terrorism Office will coordinate the visit and has indicated that it will soon inform us of a suitable time.
AIT Coordination of Maritime Security Initiatives
5. (U) AIT/T Economic Section is responsible for overall coordination of maritime security issues. The Economic Section works closely with AIT/K, which is the primary liaison with the Kaohsiung Harbor Bureau and other local officials concerned with security at the Port of Kaohsiung. AIT/T's main link with DHS/ICE is the ICE Attache at the U.S. Consulate General in Hong Kong. AIT/T and AIT/K communicate with the ICE Attache regularly by phone and e-mail. AIT looks forward to the assignment of permanent DHS officers to AIT/K under the CSI program to enhance our maritime security efforts. At that time, AIT/T and AIT/K will have to reexamine how maritime security issues are coordinated. PAAL