MND refuses to comment on missile development

TOUGH JOB::The ministry said the former minister of national defense should be more aware of his duty and responsibility to safeguard national security

Staff writer, with CNA

Sun, Mar 17, 2013 - Page 3

The Ministry of National Defense (MND) yesterday declined to confirm whether the nation has successfully developed a medium-range missile and said that the former defense minister who made such a statement should be more conscious of national security.

“The MND will maintain its stance of giving no explanation or comment” on that matter, ministry spokesman Major General David Lo (羅紹和) said, adding that there have been several news reports in recent years on the nation’s development of such a missile.

The ministry said that former minister of national defense Michael Tsai (蔡明憲) still has a responsibility to safeguard national security.

Tsai should not disclose national secrets or any sensitive information that would undermine national security, the ministry said.

Tsai, Taiwan’s first civilian defense minister who served in the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration, said in a new book that the country’s military has successfully developed a medium-range missile, according to a report yesterday in the Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister paper).

The missile has credible performance in terms of speed, control, precision and error rates, Tsai said in his book, titled God Bless Taiwan (天佑台灣).

He said the missile was test fired at a military base in southern Taiwan in February 2008, when he was minister of defense, according to the news report.

The next day, Stephen Young, then-director of the Taipei Office of the American Institute in Taiwan, called on Tsai, expressing concern about the range of the missile and Tsai responded flatly that it was a defensive weapon, the paper reported.

The AIT is the de facto US embassy in Taiwan in the absence of diplomatic ties between the two countries.

According to the Web site of the Taiwan Association of University Professors, Tsai’s new book is to be launched today at a seminar on the Taiwan Strait crisis and regional security cooperation.