Taipei, Jan. 5 (CNA) Republic of China Defense Minister Tang Fei said on Wednesday that the ROC has no ability to produce nuclear weapons at present, and reiterated that the "ROC government would never develop nuclear arms."
Tang made the statement while answering questions raised by legislators at the Organic Laws Committee of the Legislative Yuan.
The issue was suddenly a hot topic because of former Premier Hau Pei-tsun's disclosure in his soon-to-be published "Diary of Eight Years as Chief of the General Staff" that Taiwan was capable of producing nuclear weapons 14 years ago.
Asked to confirm the claim, Tang said that he was not privy to such information 14 years ago, and that he did not have a full understanding of the situation.
He went on to say that his aides were unable to provide him with related information, and added that he will require time to find and examine the relevant documents.
Even once the answer is known, Tang said, the Defense Ministry will also have to consider regulations regarding the disclosure of confidential information.
The minister pointed out that the ministry may withhold the answers to certain national defense-related questions, depending on the subjects and the circumstances.
However, in answer to a question raised by Legislator Lee Ching-hsing of the Taiwan Independence Party, Tang stated clearly that "we have no ability to produce nuclear weapons at present, mainly because all research work has been halted." (By Victor Lai)