Jane VaynmanCounter-Proliferation in Taiwan

The National Security Archive has released a new electronic briefing book on U.S. opposition to the Taiwanese nuclear program in the 1970’s.

As is usual of the Archive’s excellent briefing books, compiled from documents acquired under FOIA and annotated with expert commentary, this new one presents a narrative by William Burr and links to PDFs of about 55 documents on U.S. diplomacy with Taiwan on the nuclear issue.

The documents show that counter-proliferation diplomacy is hard even with friendly states, to say nothing of countries like North Korea or Iran:

Even a dependent ally, such as Taiwan, tried hard to resist U.S. pressures to abandon suspect nuclear activities and kept Washington guessing whether it had really given them up.

The briefing book is part of a new Nuclear Vault section of the National Security Archive’s website. It’s pretty spiffy with all the nuclear-related briefing books organized by state and topic area.


  1. John Smith (History)

    The question is:

    Is there any reason to believe that Taipei has truly halted nuclear weapons activities permanently.

    In particular, in the last few years has there been renewed activity aimed at acquiring a range of WMDs, nuclear or otherwise?

    There are evidence to suggest that such activities have resumed with the explosion of availability of technical expertise, materials, components, etc. on the ‘open’ market.

    The intent of Taipei to acquire a trump card against the possibility of betrayal by friends or attack by enemies is indisputable.

    This is a situation that warrants watching closely.