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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

MND TO SUIT ARMS PROCUREMENT PROJECTS TO NATIONAL DEMAND

2004-03-22 22:43:40

    Taipei, March 22 (CNA) The Ministry of National Defense (MND) will come up with arms procurement projects best suited to the nation's defense needs, Vice Defense Minister Lin Chong-pin said Monday.

    Lin made the remarks at a meeting of the Legislative Yuan's Defense Committee, where he was asked whether the ministry's arms procurement plans will be affected by Saturday's referendum results.

    Taiwan's first nationwide referendum failed to reach the threshold to be considered valid. A total of 45.17 percent of eligible voters cast their ballots in the first question in the referendum -- whether the country should strengthen its anti-missile defense capability -- and 45.12 percent voted on the second question -- whether the country should negotiate a peace framework with mainland China. Both failed to reach the required threshold of 50 percent.

    Lin said the results will not have any impact on the MND's arms procurement plans. Prior to the referendum, President Chen Shui-bian had said that Taiwan will act on the referendum questions in a positive way regardless of the outcome of the referendum.

    According to Lin, the MND will seek the legislature's approval of a special budget plan for the procurement of three badly needed weaponry systems -- Patriot PAC-3 anti-missile batteries, P3C Orion anti-submarine aircraft and conventional submarines.

    In the future, Lin said the MND will arrange budget plans for other weaponry systems and military equipment according to combat requirements. "Arms procurement plans will be timed to coincide with progress in troop reductions, weaponry renovation and combat capability upgrading," Lin explained.

(By Sofia Wu)

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