+   *    +     +     
About Us 
The Issues 
Our Research Products 
Order Publications 
Press Room 
Resources for Monitor Researchers 
Table of Contents
Country Reports
TAIWAN, Landmine Monitor Report 1999


Mine Ban Policy

Taiwan is not eligible to sign the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty. Likewise, it cannot sign the CCW. It is not a member of the United Nations, or the Conference on Disarmament. While no official statements on Taiwanese policy toward the ban treaty are available, an official of the National Defense Ministry said that Taiwan has stopped use of antipersonnel mines.[40]


The National Defense Ministry official also stated that Taiwan has stopped production of antipersonnel mines, and already developed an alternative weapon.[41] In the past, the company Hsing Hua produced copies of U.S. M16A1 bounding fragmentation mines, M2A4 bounding fragmentation mines, M3 blast mines, and M18A1 Claymore mines.[42]


There is no evidence that Taiwan has exported antipersonnel mines. A 1993 U.S. State Department communication indicated that Taiwan “may be attempting to sell [its] landmines abroad.”[43]

The United States has exported 36,747 antipersonnel mines to Taiwan. Most recent was a 1992 sale of 2,592 ADAM scatterable mines -- one of the last U.S. shipments before its export moratorium went into place, and one of the few U.S. exports of “smart” mines.[44] The U.S. also shipped 34,155 M3 mines in 1970 and 1974.[45] It is not known if Taiwan imported mines from other nations.


Details on Taiwan’s stockpile are not available. It likely contains a combination of domestically produced mines and U.S.-supplied mines, and perhaps Type 72 mines.

On Kinmen Island (also known as Quemoy), located just 1.8 miles from mainland China, mine dumps were identified by the Pakistan-based NGO, Mine Clearance Planning Agency (MCPA). Following is a quotation from its report:


Mines collected from surrounding areas have been stored in an open area. A concrete wall with a height of about 50cm and width of approximately 30cm has been constructed around the mines. The wall has been painted in red and yellow colors and danger signs have been installed. Two rows of sandbags have also been placed on the wall. High vegetation and trees have grown on the mine stores. The mines were stored about 30 - 35 years ago. A total of nine such stores (dumps) exist in the island.

No data is available about the type, quantity or any other technical specifications of mines stored in the open dumps. The military also has no data maps or any other information about these mine dumps. In accordance with the local mine victims interviewed, both anti-personnel and anti-tank mines are present. According to their descriptions and drawings made by a mine victim it seems that Type-72 AP mines may also be stored in the dumps.

According to a village chief and other locals, mines had been collected from the surrounding areas and then stored. The surrounding area was hardly used for farming or any other activities. When asked how do they know that the area is 100% cleared, they had no assurance. The village chief said that most parts of the area has been farmed in the past (3 - 4 years ago). However, the head of the disabled association of the island said that areas around the mine dumps have not been used at all and could potentially be dangerous.

It is suspected that in addition to landmines other devices including land surface ammunition (LSA) and other unexploded devices (UXOs) might be stored in the dumps as well. Houses are located in a distance of about 500 meters either side of the landmine dumps. [46]


An official of the National Defense Ministry has said that Taiwan has stopped use of antipersonnel mines.[47] Most parts of Kinmen (Quemoy) Island were mined in the 1950s due to its strategic location.[48]

Landmine Problem

Kinmen Island is contaminated by landmines. According to one press account, there are eight abandoned minefields in Kinmen, “which has been plagued by the danger posed by landmines for over four decades.”[49] The Mine Clearance Planning Agency report states:

Mines were used in coastline areas and areas around military installations. Most of the landmines used around military installations were removed from the ground and stored in open dumps some thirty years ago. However, landmines from the coastal areas have not yet been cleared. A number of mine incidents involving civilians have taken place in the past. The island is currently being developed to be a National Park for tourist attractions. However, the presence of mines is a serious problem faced by the local residents and will discourage tourists. The army claims that they can deal with the mined areas in the coastal areas but due to high risks involved, they are reluctant to deal with the mines stored in the dumps.[50]

Mine Action

The Ministry of National Defense has set aside NT$380 million (New Taiwan) dollars for removing all landmines from Kinmen. In 1997, Gurkha Services of the UK won a NT$47 million contract to clear the minefield in front of a temple in Hsiputou village. The demining was completed in May 1998 as scheduled. Gurkha Services won another one-year contract in November 1998 to clear the remaining seven minefields. Work began in December. “The British firm is expected to clean up all landmines at the five minefields in Hsiputou village by the end of April 1999, and the two minefields at Shuangjushan and Houpan village will be cleared up before the end of next November,” said Major General Hu Chieh, deputy commander of the Kinmen Defense Command.[51]

There is no information on mine awareness programs, landmine casualties, or survivor assistance programs. The NGO Eden Social Welfare Foundation has donated wheelchairs for mine victims in a number of countries, and has sponsored an anti-landmine conference in Taiwan.


[40]Landmine Monitor/Taipei interview, 4 March 1999.


[42]Human Rights Watch and Physicians for Human Rights, Landmines: A Deadly Legacy (New York: Human Rights Watch, 1993), p. 475.

[43]U.S. Department of State, Outgoing Telegram, Unclassified, Subject: landmine export moratorium demarche, 7 December 1993.

[44]U.S. Defense Security Assistance Agency table, “U.S. Landmine Sales by Country,” provided to Human Rights Watch 29 March 1994.

[45]U.S. Army, Armament, Munitions, and Chemical Command (USAMCCOM), Letter to Human Rights Watch, 25 August 1993, and attached statistical tables, provided under the Freedom of Information Act. (no page number).

[46]Sayed Aqa, MCPA, “Landmine Problem in Kinmen Island--Taiwan,” January 1998.

[47]Landmine Monitor/Taipei interview, March 4 1999.

[48]Sayed Aqa, MCPA, “Landmine Problem in Kinmen Island--Taiwan,” January 1998.

[49]Taiwan Central News Agency, “UK Firm Wins Bid to Clear Minefields on Kinmen Island,” 30 November 1998.

[50]Sayed Aqa, MCPA, January 1998.

[51]Taiwan Central News Agency, 30 November 1998.