The Ministry of National Defence (MND) of Taiwan revealed its intentions to build advanced biosafety research and development facilities to enhance its protection against biological warfare. This move comes in response to increasing pressure from the People’s Liberation Army on the independently governed territory. The authorities have strongly emphasized that the project will not be utilized for the development of biological weapons.
According to a report from Taiwan’s local news outlet UDN on Sunday, the United States has reportedly demanded that Taiwan MND’s National Defence Medical Center (NDMC) invest in building a new type of P4 laboratory. The objective of this demand is said to be the covert development of virus research capabilities and the creation of biological warfare agents.
However, the MND released a statement on Sunday that denied UDN’s claims as false, stating, “The purpose of establishing the ‘Biosafety Level 4 Laboratory (P4)’ is to detect, protect and treat the pathogens of infectious diseases,” and it “is in response to the rise of highly contagious pathogens in recent years.”
Biosafety Facility to Deal with Future Pandemics in Taiwan
The defence ministry of Taiwan has issued three statements refuting the allegations of the local news outlet. Bureau spokesman Yang Chung-chi stated that the military prioritizes defence and protection when addressing nuclear and biological warfare. He further mentioned that the primary purpose behind the construction of a P4 lab by the National Defence Medical Center is to detect disease pathogens and pandemics, intending to identify effective countermeasures.
P4 labs with the highest biological safety level can handle the most dangerous pathogens. Therefore it is necessary for the island to construct a new generation of biosafety research and development facilities to boost its capacity to resist biological warfare and handle future pandemics.
Taiwan Continues to Comply with the Biological Weapons Convention
The MND has emphasized that Taiwan is a signatory to the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC). The BWC effectively prohibits the development, production, acquisition, transfer, stockpiling, and use of biological and toxin weapons. Despite being expelled from the United Nations, Taiwan remains committed to adhering to the Convention.
Fabricated Story to Undermine the Ruling Government Says Taiwan
Statements issued by Taiwan’s presidential office and foreign ministry have called the UDN report disinformation, underlining that no meetings with the United States have been held to discuss the development of bioweapons. According to the official statements, the news report only aims to undermine the ruling government led by the Democratic Progressive Party. The US de-facto embassy in Taiwan has also dismissed the claims.
Escalating Cross-Strait Tensions with PLA’s intensified military activities since August have threatened Taiwan. And the increasing US influence in Taiwan has irked China to the extent of sending warplanes almost daily over the median line, the informal dividing line in the Taiwan Strait.