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Country Reports
TAIWAN, Landmine Monitor Report 2001
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Key developments since May 2000: In March 2001, the Ministry of National Defense confirmed that Taiwan no longer uses, produces, or transfers antipersonnel mines. Clearance operations continue on Kinmen Island.

Mine Ban Policy

Taiwan is not eligible to sign the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty. It is not a member of the United Nations. In July 1999 Vice President Lien Chan first expressed the government’s “all-out support” for a comprehensive ban on antipersonnel mines. Government officials echoed these remarks in March 2001 at a public hearing and press conference on the landmine problem on Kinmen (Quemoy) Island organized by the Eden Social Welfare Foundation, a Taipei-based NGO.[1]

Production, Transfer, Stockpiling, Use

At the March 2001 public hearing a Ministry of National Defense spokesman confirmed that Taiwan no longer uses, produces, or transfers antipersonnel mines. In the past, Taiwan both produced and imported antipersonnel mines, but is not known to have exported. The current size and composition of Taiwan’s stockpile of antipersonnel mines is unknown, but is likely to consist of domestically produced copies of U.S. M16A1, M2A4, M3, and M18A1 mines, as well as some of the 36,747 antipersonnel mines imported from the United States (including 2,592 ADAM scatterable mines in 1992).[2]

Landmine Problem

The landmine problem persists in the coastal areas of Kinmen Island, which was mined in the 1950s.[3] A November 2000 television documentary report revealed that smugglers on Kinmen Island use minefields as a “safety” path to bring goods from the People’s Republic of China; they moor on mined beaches and walk through the minefields to reach village markets.[4]

Mine Action

Mine clearance operations have been undertaken on Kinmen Island. On the basis of a survey conducted in 1996, the Ministry of National Defense prioritized two areas and contracted the Specialist Gurkha Services UK Ltd. (SGS) to clear the minefields. SGS completed clearance of these priority areas in May 1999.[5]

At the March 2001 public hearing, the Ministry of National Defense declared that all the “strategically irrelevant” minefields had been cleared.[6] However, officials maintained that certain minefields still have a defensive purpose and need to be kept.[7] Nevertheless, there was a desire to rehabilitate and re-use strategically mined areas for local development on Kinmen Island as well as other islands. A few companies providing services to local communities such as Kinmen Water Company, Tai Power Electricity Plant and Harbor Administration of Kinmen Port have already started to clear and rehabilitate mined areas.[8] In February 2001, Kinmen Water Company cleared a minefield near their plant and the Civil Aeronautics Administration is conducting a survey for planed future mine clearance operations.[9] BACTEC (UK) cleared about 20,000 square meters of mined area for Kinmen Water Company.[10] In order to build the Swee-Tou Port and Kinmen bridge, the Harbor Administration of Kinmen has entrusted BACTEC to conduct mine clearance operations from March to July 2001 for US$ 224,545.[11] In addition, Tzu-Su Enterprise (Taiwan) contracted BACTEC for other mine clearance operations on Kinmen Island.[12]

Survivor Assistance

In December 1999 the Ministry of National Defense released a book "Compensation for Civilian Casualties Caused By the Military," but notably it does not have a section on landmine victims. At the March 2001 public hearing problem hosted by Eden Social Welfare Foundation, Deputy Director General Far Yan-Fur of the Ministry of National Defense declared that thirteen landmine survivors would receive compensation by April 2001. Since 1997 Eden has provided wheelchairs to mine victims and other disabled people. As of April 2001 Eden had donated 4,943 wheelchairs to people in Taiwan, South Korea, Cambodia, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Jordan, Mozambique, Vietnam and El Salvador. Eden donated 728 wheelchairs in 2000.

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[1] Press conference/public hearing on landmine problem on Kinmen Island, Taipei, 27 March 2001.
[2] See Landmine Monitor Report 1999, pp. 520-521, and Landmine Monitor Report 2000, p. 556.
[3] For more details, see Landmine Monitor Report 1999, pp. 521-522, and Landmine Monitor Report 2000, p. 557-558. Military personnel have said that other small islands were also mined, including Tongyung, Yuchou, Liantou, Siyian, Urtong, and Tatong.
[4] TV news report, Kinmen Island, November 2000.
[5] See Landmine Monitor Report 2000, pp. 557-558, for more details.
[6] Letter from General Lee T. S., Ministry of National Defense to Legislator Chang L. S., Taipei, 9 March 2001.
[7] Ibid.
[8] Ibid.
[9] Ibid.
[10] Landmine Monitor/Taiwan telephone interview with Mr. Lee, T.W., manager of Kinmen Water Company, 4 May 2001.
[11] Liberty Times, 7 March 2001.
[12] China Times, Taiwan, 7 March 2001.