Taiwan’s top national security chief was forced to apologise after suggesting the deadly SARS virus could have been developed in Chinese laboratories as a bio-weapon.
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National Security Bureau director Tsai Chao-ming “expresses his sincere apology that his gaffe … has caused misunderstanding and concerns,” the bureau said in a statement.
Tsai stirred up controversy on Monday after telling lawmakers that Taiwan had intelligence linking the SARS virus to research done in Chinese labs.
“The bureau listed it as a biochemical warfare agent. We have certain evidence and we have asked UN experts to look into this and that there are some areas involving China,” Tsai said.
SARS triggered a global health crisis after emerging in China’s southern Guangdong province in November 2002, infecting more than 8,000 people and causing nearly 800 deaths worldwide, including 349 in China and 73 in Taiwan.
The pro-independence opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) urged the government to disclose the relevant intelligence information and demand an explanation from Beijing.
EXCLUSIVE#Coronavirus Bioweapon Thread
How China Stole Coronavirus From Canada And Weaponized Ithttps://t.co/tc7W2DrmAA
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If the SARS virus were to be “used as a bio-weapon, it would cause irreparable harm to mankind. We urge the international community to intervene and investigate,” said DPP spokesman Cheng Wen-tsang.
Taiwan and the mainland have been governed separately since they split in 1949 at the end of a civil war, but Beijing sees the island as part of its territory awaiting reunification, by force if necessary.
As published in the Sydney Morning Herald
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