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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

SPECIAL WEAPONRY PROCUREMENT PLAN NOT EXPECTED TO BE FINALIZED SOON

2004-02-20 17:29:55

    Taipei, Feb. 20 (CNA) Special budget plans for Taiwan's additional procurement of advanced weapons systems, including submarines, are not expected to be finalized before May 20, Minister of National Defense Tang Yiau-min said Friday.

    Tang said a final revision of the analysis of weapons systems on the Ministry of National Defense's (MND's) shopping list is expected to be submitted by the MND to the Legislative Yuan in early March, while the investment guidelines are expected to take another two months to complete, making it impossible for the special arms-purchasing budget plans to be passed by the legislature before May 20, the day the next president is sworn into office.

    Tang made the remarks at the Legislative Yuan to discount media speculation that the government is pressing to allow the special arms budget plans to clear the legislative floor before March 20 in an attempt to get a nod from Washington to Taiwan's holding a referendum on election day.

    During an interview with the local radio program "UFO Breakfast" a day earlier, President Chen Shui-bian Chen said he sees no fault in Tang's remarks Wednesday that even if more than half of the electorate vote against purchasing more missiles in the upcoming referendum, the MND will go ahead with its arms procurement plans. "What we need to buy to beef up our defense capabilities includes many kinds of weapons, not just missiles, " Chen argued, adding that he had extensive discussions with Tang and other government officials before deciding on the referendum questions.

(By Deborah Kuo)

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