Thursday, November 24, 2011

Task force working on cross-strait CBM: source

Officials all denied knowledge of the alleged task force, while opponents of the Ma administration warn of the risks that under him, military CBMs with China could be signed under a one China framework

Soon after assuming office in 2008, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) established a “military confidence-building mechanism” (CBM) task force at the suggestion of then-National Security Council (NSC) secretary-general Su Chi (蘇起), a body that continues to function to this day, a source said.

From its inception, the task force was reportedly headed by Lieutenant General Lee Hsiang-chou (李翔宙), then-deputy dean of National Defense University (NDU), with Major General Tsao Hsiung-yuan (曹雄源), then the head of the school’s Graduate Institute of Strategic Studies, acting as deputy, said the source, who is affiliated with the Ministry of National Defense.

The task force was reportedly charged with evaluating and fleshing out a framework for Taiwan to establish military CBMs with China.

The Chinese-language United Evening News reported in August that Lee Hsiang-chou was highly trusted by the ministry and had been assigned to conduct research on certain “highly sensitive” national security issues, including a CBM with China.

The reports said Minister of National Defense Kao Hua-chu (高華柱) had specifically requested that Lee Hsiang-chou, who represented the ministry in communications with the NSC, apprise himself of developments on the CBM issue.

My article, published today in the Taipei Times, continues here, with responses from various current and former government officials, including Su Chi.

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