|05TAIPEI3030||2005-07-15 05:42:00||CONFIDENTIAL||American Institute Taiwan, Taipei|
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
C O N F I D E N T I A L TAIPEI 003030
1. (C) Summary. Taiwan National Security Council (NSC)
officials dismissed recent press reporting that the upcoming
National Security Report (see Ref A) will include references
to "offensive weapons." They did, however, acknowledge that
the report will very likely include a passing reference to
developing a "counterstrike capability." NSC officials
assured AIT that they will coordinate with the USG prior to
the publication of the report in August. End Summary.
Developing "Counterstrike Capability"
2. (C) NSC Deputy SecGen Henry Ko told AIT that the initial
draft of the National Security Report as presented at a
presidential-chaired NSC meeting on June 29 made no reference
to "offensive weapons." He did note, however, that
Presidential Office Secretary-General Yu Shyi-kun argued at
the meeting that the National Security Report should mention
the need for Taiwan to develop a counterstrike or deterrent
capability. (Note: Yu, long an advocate of Taiwan
developing offensive weapon capabilities, made provocative
statements last September regarding counterstrike capability
(Ref B). End Note.) Ko and other NSC officials told AIT
that the Report, still a work in progress, will very likely
include reference to a counterstrike capability (fanzhi
nengli) without going into specifics over weapons systems
that could provide such a capacity. When pressed on whether
the Report would discuss specific indigenous missile
development programs, such as the Hsiung Feng, NSC defense
policy researcher Su Szu-yun assured AIT that it would not.
"Deterrence" Across the Strait
3. (C) Elaborating on the meaning of "deterrence" in the
Taiwan context, Su explained that recent developments in
Taiwan,s indigenous missile programs were primarily aimed at
attempting to prevent Mainland air superiority in the event
of a cross-Strait armed conflict. Su noted that this was in
contrast to irresponsible Taiwan press reporting on missile
developments, which often suggests that Taiwan missiles could
be used to strike Mainland population centers in the event of
a conflict. Su stressed this was not Taiwan military
Keeping the USG in the loop
4. (C) Ko assured AIT that AIT would receive a full briefing
prior to the public release of the Report, and that the NSC
would welcome USG input. Furthermore, Ko noted, the Ministry
of National Defense (MND) would be in contact with the U.S.
Department of Defense to ensure that the report does not
conflict with the upcoming U.S. report on Peoples Liberation
Army (PLA) capabilities.
5. (C) AIT will continue to press Taiwan interlocutors to
exclude references to offensive weapons and minimize
references to the development of a counterstrike capability
from the National Security Report. Nevertheless, there are
strong voices within Taiwan's national security and defense
apparatus which support the inclusion of "counterstrike"
language. These voices have two different advocacy groups:
those who support offensive weapons and/or counterstrike
capability for purely military and strategic purposes, and
those who want Taiwan to develop a feel-good but ineffectual
limited capability to strike at Mainland population centers
in the event of cross-Strait armed conflict. This latter
group is seeking to exploit an emotional sense among Taiwan
identity and Taiwan independence supporters that an offensive
capability will better enable Taiwan to stand up to China.