Mon, May 14, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan joins NGO’s defense integrity index

By Rich Chang  /  Staff reporter

Transparency International’s (TI) Taiwan branch said Taiwan had joined a new Government Defense Integrity Index (GDII) whose first results will be published in November.

TI’s Taiwan branch released the new proposal on its official Web site, adding that Taiwan was among the 80 countries to have joined the evaluation body.

The GDII will grade the countries using an A-to-D system.

The branch said the GDII focuses on evaluating the nation’s defense and security establishments. Taiwan was invited to join the evaluation because of its special situation in arms procurement.

The branch said Taiwan was one of the top global arms procurers. Between 1996 and 2000, Taiwan spent US$12.28 billion on arms procurement, placing it at world No. 1 for that period.

However, because of the China factor, Taiwan’s arms procurement has relied heavily on the US, to such an extent that the US is virtually the sole source for Taiwan’s arms acquisitions.

As a result, the Taiwanese military’s procurement procedures are highly nontransparent, particularly as US defense companies often press the US government and US Congress to force Taiwan to accept certain weaponry systems and their high prices, it said.

The branch said there had also been scandals surrounding arms procurement programs. A well-known example was the scandal surrounding the 1991 deal under which Taiwan obtained six French-made Lafayette warships.

The branch said that joining the GDII would help Taiwan create a more transparent environment for its military budget and arms procurement procedures.

TI said a more transparent arms procurement program should be pursued, regardless of the views of supporters and opponents of Taiwan’s main procurement programs.

TI’s Taiwan branch said Taiwan’s military-related government bodies would be asked to answer 76 questions. The investigation would be completed by the end of this month and the results would be sent to TI for an evaluation.

TI’s local branch said it had visited the Ministry of National Defense, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Agency Against Corruption and others to brief them about the investigation.

The defense ministry said yesterday that it would fully cooperate with the investigation.

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