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Thursday, October 12, 2006

Taiwan official: We won't develop nuclear weapons

A senior Taiwanese official said Thursday the island has no plans to develop a nuclear weapons capability of its own, despite claims of a successful nuclear test by regional neighbor North Korea earlier in the week.

Monday's claimed North Korean test significantly raised Asian tensions, with many commentators suggesting it would set off a new nuclear arms race in the region.

However, Joseph Wu, the chairman of Taiwan's Cabinet-level body in charge of relations with China, told The Associated Press that Taiwan will not develop a nuclear weapons capability, because to do so would ratchet up tensions with the communist mainland, its longtime political rival.

"We won't develop our own nuclear bomb," Wu said. "Our best military option regarding China is to bolster our defensive missile capability."

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