■ DefenseUS denies bullet report
The US Army on Friday denied it is seeking to buy bullets from Taiwan to replenish supplies that, according to a report in a Chinese-language newspaper, have run low after wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. A local evening paper cited Taiwanese military sources last week as saying the US had made a request to buy some 300 million 5.56mm bullets for rifles for an estimated NT$2 billion (US$62.5 million). "The army is successfully fielding ammunition to our soldiers around the world and does not need ammunition from Taiwan," Brigadier General Paul Izzo, the executive officer for the army's ammunition program, said in a statement. "Contrary to media reports, the army has not made a request to purchase 300 million 5.56mm bullets," he said.
Delegation to head to the US
Mainland Affairs Council Chairman Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) confirmed yesterday that that he would lead a delegation to visit the US and "elaborate" Taiwan's stance on China's anti-secession law. Local media reported that the government would send delegations to the US, Japan, Southeast Asia and Europe to talk about the intentions behind China's anti-secession law. The group will explain Taiwan's view that the goal of the law is to change the status-quo in the Taiwan Strait unilaterally, and that it will endanger regional peace. The delegation traveling to the US will be led by Wu, local media reports said, and Wu confirmed the reports yesterday. "I will visit the US and meet with friends from US think tanks and Congress, and the anti-secession law would be the most important subject we'll touch upon," Wu said. Wu said that he would elaborate Taiwan's position on the law clearly to allow the US to understand Taiwan's stance better. The reports said that Wu may set off for the US next week.
Moderate temblor strikes
A moderate earthquake shook northeastern Taiwan yesterday, the Central Weather Bureau said. No damage or injuries were immediately reported. The 5.1-magnitude quake was centered under the ocean 63km east of Suao at 1:02pm, the weather bureau said. Suao is 80km southeast of Taipei.
`Guardians' in training
A team of 1,000 "mountain guardians" currently undergoing training are set to start service May 20 to help with rescue operations and ecological conservation in mountainous areas, Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) said yesterday. Of the 1,000 trainees, 500 are doing alternative military service, while the other 500 are residents of mountainous aboriginal communities, Lu said. The mountain guardians are expected to improve the government's response to natural disasters such as flooding and mudflows triggered by typhoons, Lu said. In light of the fact that up to three-quarters of Taiwan is mountainous, Lu proposed that the country's administrative regions be re-mapped to set up a special mountainous administrative region directly under the control of the central government. Meanwhile, she reaffirmed the government's plan to draw on its success in developing science-based industrial parks to help its diplomatic allies in Central America set up similar facilities. Lu made the remarks while giving a keynote speech at a luncheon with legislators-elect of the Democratic Progressive Party.