Sun, Nov 16, 2003 - Page 8 News List

Better national security net needed

By the Liberty Times editorial

National Security Council (NSC) Secretary-General Kang Ning-hsiang (康寧祥) said in the Legislative Yuan that the biggest potential crisis in national security lies in the gaps in naval security. He also emphasized that the biggest threat to security is not the hundreds of missiles that have been deployed by China, but the gaps in naval security that are hard to grapple with.

Kang candidly admitted this, despite the Ministry of National Defense and the coast guard's mutual support pact. As a result of the unclear division of duties in the pact, problems persist in coastal defense. As the chief of staff of the highest national security policy body of the country, Kang also openly called on the relevant units to close these gaps, indicating that the problems with coastal defense are by no means insignificant.

However, successfully defending the coastline would not eliminate all of China's threats to Tai-wan, such as the importation and smuggling of various diseases, drugs, arms and even prostitutes (by faking marriages with Taiwan-ese men) through all kinds of illegal channels. More serious problems are presented by unification propaganda and violent campaigns waged in the name of "patriotism" within Taiwan through the media, politicians and some groups. The phenomenon is truly worrisome and should raise alarm among our countrymen.

Taiwan is an island country with a coastline of more than 1,200km. Ineffective defense of the coastline will open the gate to Chinese threats. During the martial law era the military was in charge of defending the coastline. However, the coastline was simply too long and people periodically slipped through.

After martial law had been lifted, the defense of the coastline was relaxed. The military handed over the task of coastal defense to the Coast Guard Authority, which is less well-equipped and professionally trained for the purpose.

Along with heated cross-strait exchanges, the number of illegal Chinese immigrants has increased rapidly. The intelligence-gathering, espionage and other activities of Chinese spies in Taiwan have become serious threats to this country's political, economic and national security.

Moreover, because the PRC neither recognizes the sovereignty of our country nor renounces the use of force against Taiwan, the risk of a war breaking out between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait still exists. While the two sides are engaged in heated exchanges the risk of war continues to lurk in the background.

As a result of the threat of war, all the interactions between people on either side of the Strait, such as trade, marriages and visits, have taken on serious political implications. At the same time, joint efforts to crack down on crime between the two sides are being hampered. Under these circumstances, the pressure is mounting on Taiwan's national defense, giving rise to serious long-term problems.

As far as intelligence security is concerned, according to statistics released by the Investigative Bureau, more than 3,000 Chinese spies are currently estimated to be hidden in Taiwan. These people can penetrate into political and economical centers, science-based parks and military bases, as well as national security and military facilities for intelligence gathering.

If effective preventive mecha-nisms are not set up, national security will collapse and the high-tech industry's business secrets will leak out, impairing the development of high-value industries.

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