March 25, 2008

Minuteman Missiles on Taiwan?

The Pentagon today acknowledged that devices for intercontinental ballistic "Minuteman" missiles were shipped by the Air Force to Taiwan. The devices are "component[s] for the fuse in the nosecone for a nuclear system" according to Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne. Wynne said the shipment was supposed to be helicopter batteries and is being investigated.

According to the joint Sino-USA communique of 1982:

"... the United States Government states that it does not seek to carry out a long-term policy of arms sales to Taiwan, that its arms sales to Taiwan will not exceed, either in qualitative or in quantitative terms, the level of those supplied in recent years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the United States and China, and that it intends to reduce gradually its sales of arms to Taiwan, leading over a period of time to a final resolution."

It is time for the United States to live up to its agreements and honor the 1982 communique. The people of Taiwan spoke last weekend in a popular election and chose to move away from confrontation with Beijing. Unless it changes its actions and begins to honor its actual policy, the USA will act as provacateur and risk a nuclear standoff.

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