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Taiwan, Intelligence and Security

Taiwan, Intelligence and Security

For the first four decades after its establishment by ousted Chinese President Chiang Kai-shek in the 1940s, the Republic of China (ROC) or Taiwan was a virtual one-party state ruled by Chiang's Guomindang or KMT. Although its system was capitalist and nominally democratic, the country's people had little freedom of dissent. During those years, the National Security Bureau (NSB) helped maintain Chiang's power by monitoring the citizenry. Liberalization began in the late 1980s, and was reflected in changes by the NSB. Nevertheless, the centralization of the ROC intelligence and security structure remains.

Under the National Security Council (NSC) is the Ministry of Defense, which includes the ROC Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Military Police Command. The Ministry of Defense also has its own Military Intelligence Bureau. Of much greater significance in the intelligence apparatus is NSB, which reports directly to the Ministry of Defense. At one time, its activities were so secretive that it was called "Mystical 110," after the address of its headquarters at 110 Yanteh Boulevard in the Taipei suburb of Yang Ming Mountain. Directed by military leaders, the NSB was known popularly as "Taiwan's KGB" or simply "TKGB." The passage of the NSB Organic Law by the Yuan or national legislature in 1994, however, served to place NSB under a much greater measure of civilian control in the increasingly liberalizing ROC state.

In addition to the NSB is the Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau (MJIB), which performs functions similar to those of the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation, although its powers are somewhat more broad. Police services are directed by the National Police Administration of the Ministry of Interior. Like South Korea and unlike the United States, Taiwan's police are centrally organized.

FURTHER READING:

BOOKS:

Bennett, Richard M. Espionage: An Encyclopedia of Spies and Secrets. London: Virgin Books, 2002.

PERIODICALS:

Campbell, Kurt M. "Edging Taiwan in from the Cold." Washington Post. (April 25, 2001): A31.

Dean, Jason. "Taipei's Turmoil Hinders Action on Key Issues." Wall Street Journal. (March 21, 2002): A18.

Li Shaomin. "My Long Journey Home." Wall Street Journal. (August 7, 2001): A14.

ELECTRONIC:

Taiwan Intelligence and Security Agencies. Federation of American Scientists. <http://www.fas.org/irp/world/taiwan/> (March 1, 2003).

SEE ALSO

China, Intelligence and Security
Chinese Espionage against the United States
South Korea, Intelligence and Security

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