×
Taiwan

Taiwan WMD Stats

Overview:

Taiwan does not possess nuclear weapons, but began a covert nuclear weapons program in 1964 that ended in 1988 as a result of U.S. pressure. Taiwan signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in 1968 and has implemented the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) "Program 93+2" safeguards. Despite persistent suspicions of offensive and defensive chemical and biological weapons (CBW) programs, there is no conclusive evidence that Taiwan has developed or deployed chemical or biological weapons. Taiwan is currently developing the Tien Chi, a short-range ballistic missile system that can reach the coast of China.

Definitions

  • Biological: A description of the nation's situation with regards to the possession and manufacture of biological weapons of mass destruction
  • Chemical: A description of the nation's situation with regards to the possession and manufacture of chemical weapons of mass destruction
  • Missile: A description of the nation's situation with regards to the possession and manufacture of missile weapons of mass destruction
  • Nuclear: A description of the nation's situation with regards to the possession and manufacture of nuclear weapons
STAT AMOUNT DATE RANK
Biological Taiwan has been accused of making efforts to acquire a biological weapons (BW) capability. A report from the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service claimed that Taiwan has developed three dozen types of bacteria, apparently for weaponization purposes. This report, of questionable reliability, was vigorously denied by the Ministry of National Defense (MND). Taiwan signed the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BWC) in 1972, but its role in this treaty is not officially recognized. Taiwan has not been permitted to join the Australia Group. 1972
Chemical In 1989, the U.S. Congress was informed that Taiwan could have acquired an offensive chemical weapons (CW) capability. While acknowledging production of small quantities of CW agents for defense research purposes, Taiwanese authorities have consistently denied any offensive CW capabilities. Still, rumors persist that Taiwan has stockpiled sarin in two locations: Tsishan (Kaohsiung) and in Kuanhsi, Hsinchu County. Chemical defense research and development is conducted at the Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology. Because of Taiwan's non-state status, it cannot join the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) nor the Australia Group. 1989
Missile Taiwan's short-range ballistic missile (SRBM) program is based at the Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology, which has developed a range of missiles including the Hsiung Feng series of anti-ship missiles, the Tien Chien series of air-to-air missiles, and the Tien Kung series of surface-to-air missiles. These systems have provided Taiwanese scientists with experience and a technological base in areas such as composite materials and guidance and fire control systems, which are essential for development of longer range surface-to-surface missiles. Taiwan has two SRBM programs. The liquid-fueled, single-stage Ching Feng has a range of 130 km with a 270 kg payload. Initially deployed in the early 1980s, it is unclear how many Ching Feng missiles were built and whether they are still operational. The Tien Chi, first test-fired in 1997, is a solid-fueled, two-stage missile with a 300 km range that can reach China's southeastern coast. The Tien Chi incorporates global positioning system technology and has an estimated payload of 100-500 kg. One report claims that as many as 50 Tien Chi missiles have been deployed on Tungyin Island and at an unidentified second location. Development of the Tien Ma, a ballistic missile with a range of 950 km, was reportedly discontinued in the early 1980s due to U.S. pressure. 1997
Nuclear Taiwan's first nuclear reactor was built at National Tsinghua University in 1956, and its first nuclear power plant was opened in 1965. Taiwan now possesses six nuclear units housed in three nuclear power plants with a total capacity of 5,144 megawatts. Although plagued by domestic opposition and delays, a fourth nuclear power plant is scheduled to begin operation in 2006. Taiwan's nuclear weapons program was established under the direction of the Institute of Nuclear Energy Research (INER) and the Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology following the People's Republic of China's first nuclear test in October 1964. The "Hsin Chu" program involved procurement and operation of a heavy water reactor, a heavy water production plant, a reprocessing research laboratory, and a plutonium separation plant. U.S. pressure caused Taiwan to end its nuclear weapons program in 1988 after International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspections discovered missing fuel rods and the former deputy director of INER defected to the United States with detailed information about Taiwan's program. Taiwan probably possesses the technological expertise necessary to develop nuclear weapons, but U.S. pressure and the possibility of a pre-emptive strike by China have prevented a resumption of the nuclear weapons program. 2006

Citation