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Country Reports
TAIWAN, Landmine Monitor Report 2000
LM Report 2000 Full Report   Executive Summary   Key Findings   Key Developments   Translated Country Reports


Key developments since March 1999: For the first time, a senior official made a clear statement of support for a comprehensive ban on antipersonnel mines. Mine clearance continued on Kinmen Island.

Mine Ban Policy

On 10 July 1999, Vice President Lien Chan said, “Hereby I would like to declare that the government of the Republic of China will give all-out support to ban production, use, storage, and transportation of landmines.”[1] Taiwan is not eligible to sign the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty. It is not a member of the United Nations.

Production, Transfer, Stockpiling, Use

In March 1999, a National Defense Ministry official told Landmine Monitor that Taiwan has stopped use and production of antipersonnel mines.[2] In the past, the company Hsing Hua produced copies of U.S. M16A1, M2A4, M3, and M18A1 mines.[3]

There is no evidence that Taiwan has exported antipersonnel mines. Taiwan has imported 36,747 antipersonnel mines from the United States, including 2,592 ADAM scatterable mines in 1992.[4] It is not known if Taiwan imported mines from other nations. Details on Taiwan's stockpile are not available. See the Landmine Monitor 1999 report for details of the mine dumps on Kinmen (Quemoy) Island.[5]

An official of the Ministry of National Defense told Landmine Monitor in March 1999 that Taiwan has stopped use of antipersonnel mines.[6]

Landmine Problem

Most parts of Kinmen Island were mined in the 1950s due to its strategic location. Former military personnel have said that other small islands including Tongyung, Yuchou, Liantou, Siyian, Urtong, Tatong were also mined, although Kinmen Island is most heavily mined.[7] As one press account put it, Kinmen “has been plagued by the danger posed by landmines for over four decades.”[8] A Mine Clearance Planning Agency report states, “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.”[9]

Mine Action

The Ministry of National Defense conducted a minefield survey in Kinmen Island from January to April 1996 and specified two prioritized areas: (1) six mine dumps in the vicinity of Lee Kuan-Chian Temple in Hsiputou village and (2) Shuang-Ju-Shan and Hou-Pan-Tsun minefields.[10]

The Ministry of National Defense decided to put out clearance contracts worth NT$304,716,000 (approximately U.S.$10 million) for the fiscal years 1998, 1999 and 2000.[11]

In 1997, Specialist Gurkha Services UK Ltd. (SGS) won a NT$47 million (about U.S.$1.5 million) contract to clear the minefield in front of a temple in Hsiputou village. The demining was completed in May 1998 as scheduled. SGS won another contract in November 1998 to clear the remaining seven minefields in Kinmen including five dumps in the vicinity of Lee Kuan-Chian Temple (Division A), Shuang-Ju-Shan minefield (Division B), and Hou-Pan-Tsun minefield (Division C). Clearance and Disposal of mines/UXO in Division A commenced on 15 December 1998 and was completed 1 March 1999. Division C commenced on 17 February 1999 and was completed on 13 April 1999. Division B commenced on 6 April 1999 and completed on 12 May 1999.[12]

In a June 1999 report, SGS reflected on the difficulties it encountered and recommended the establishment of a National Mine Data Center and adoption of a nationwide clearance program:

For the entire duration of the project, including the Tendering Stage, the ROC Army was unable to provide technical data on both the Mine Dumps and the Minefields. This included data such as the type and number of mines likely to be encountered in both the Dumps and the Minefields, the pattern in which mines were laid in the Minefields and the exact dimensions and location of the actual mine areas....

One means of alleviating this problem in the future is for the ROC MOND [Ministry of National Defense] to establish a National Mine Data Center. Such a Center would hold all relevant details and data of mined areas in the ROC and would be the source of technical information and data when compiling future contracts. The necessary information would be gathered by researching information presently held by the MOND and by conducting investigative Level 2 Survey of areas believed to be mined....

The MOND could achieve savings if it adopted a Nation-Wide Clearance Programme in which several projects were run concurrently and projects flowed into each other. The key to such a programme is a long-term perspective based on accurate information on the true extent of the mine/UXO problem confronting the ROC.”[13]

There is almost no information on mine awareness programs, landmine casualties, or survivor assistance programs. The Eden Social Welfare Foundation, a Taipei-based NGO, has promoted a series of “Love Wheelchairs for the Disabled” activities, in which more than 3,200 wheelchairs have been donated to mine victims in Taiwan, South Korea, Cambodia, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Jordan, and Mozambique.[14]

<EAST TIMOR | Europe/Central Asia>

[1] Eden Social Welfare Foundation, “1999 Love Without Frontiers,” p. 24.
[2] Interview, Taipei, 4 March 1999.
[3] Human Rights Watch and Physicians for Human Rights, Landmines: A Deadly Legacy (New York: Human Rights Watch, 1993), p. 475.
[4] U.S. Defense Security Assistance Agency table, “U.S. Landmine Sales by Country,” provided to Human Rights Watch, 29 March 1994.
[5] Landmine Monitor Report 1999, p. 522.
[6] Interview, Taipei, 4 March 1999.
[7] Interviews, Taipei, 23 March 2000.
[8] Taiwan Central News Agency, “UK Firm Wins Bid to Clear Minefields on Kinmen Island,” 30 November 1998.
[9] Sayed Aqa, MCPA, “Landmine Problem in Kinmen Island,” January 1998. MCPA is a Pakistan-based demining organization.
[10] Ministry of National Defense document issued on 24 June 1999 in response to a Senator’s inquiry. NT$ is New Taiwan dollars.
[11] Ibid.
[12] Specialist Gurkha Services (SGS) UK Ltd., “Mine Clearance Technical Transfer Report (Contract Number TB88001 W041PE),” 12 June 1999, pp. 1-3; and, interview with Mr. Chen Chih-Cheng, ROC Representative for SGS, Taipei, 23 March 2000.
[13] SGS, “Mine Clearance Technical Transfer Report,” 12 June 1999, p. 13.
[14] Eden Social Welfare Foundation, “1999 Love Without Frontiers,” p. 27.