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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)


ROC Central News Agency

2005-03-09 21:55:00

    Taipei, March 9 (CNA) Minister of National Defense Lee Jye said Wednesday he supports the proposal to hold a referendum on the government's long-stalled massive arms procurement project simultaneously with the May 14 National assembly elections.

    Lee made the remarks while fielding questions at a Legislative Yuan question-and-answer session.

    It marked an about-face in Lee's attitude toward holding a referendum on arms procurement issues. In the past, Lee once said that as arms procrement involved professional judgment, such issues should not be put forth for a referendum.

    Lee said as local people have become more supportive of the procurement project, he is convinced that the referendum result will be in favor of the project.

    The opposition-controlled legislature has declined to screen a special statute that would authorize the administration to appropriate special funds to purchase three kinds of advanced weapons from the United States -- eight diesel-electric submarines, six PAC III Patriot anti-missile batteries and a squadron of 12 anti-submarine aircraft.

    Lu said the results of recent public opinion poll show that the number of proponents of the special arms procurement project has been increasing steadily.

    During the legislative session, Lee also said if the legislature eventually cuts the budget for the project, the Ministry of National Defense will give the priority to purchasing eight diesel-electric submarines.

(By Sofia Wu)


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