Wed, Feb 06, 2013 - Page 12 News List

The said and the unsaid

An exhibition at the Armed Forces Museum commemorates the Chemical Corps

By James T. Hong  /  Contributing reporter


It just so happens, that in the recently closed 2012 Taipei Biennial, I, with Tony Chun-hui Wu (吳俊輝) and Kelvin Kyung Kun Park, created an exhibit (Taiwan WMD), which details the history of Taiwan’s weapons of mass destruction programs. While the ROC’s quashed attempts to create nuclear weapons are relatively well known, Taiwan’s biological and chemical weapons programs have remained reasonably secret.

Despite denials from the museum staff, I imagine the Chemical Corps exhibition as a governmental response to my exhibit Taiwan WMD, or conversely, Taiwan WMD as the obscene complement to Dragon Soldiers. It is precisely what remains unsaid and ambiguous within the propaganda of the Chemical Corps that is the truth.

Various international sources have suspected or accused the ROC of stockpiling chemical and biological weapons, and the production of these weapons is well within the reach of Taiwanese scientists and industry. Because the ROC is not recognized by the UN as a sovereign state, Taiwan is excluded from international treaties and organizations that regulate the production, import and export of such weapons or weapons-making materials.

Since the general public loathes the idea of WMD, it makes perfect sense for the exhibition to omit any references to Taiwan’s offensive WMD capabilities. In light of US President Barach Obama’s (seemingly ineffective) warning to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad that the use of chemical weapons would cross a “red line,” no government wants to publicly admit that it is stockpiling such devices.

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