Taiwan on Thursday
remained silent on news report that the United States had considered dropping a
nuclear bomb on China during the 1958 Taiwan-China crisis, but scholars said the
nuclear attack was unlikely, DPA reported.
"We have no official comment on this report," a press officer at the Defence Ministry told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.
Meanwhile, Taiwan military analysts said the US had merely considered using nuclear bombs on China, but had not intended to drop it for fear of triggering an almost certain regional war involving the Soviet Union.
"I think the US military considered it as a quick solution of the Taiwan-China crisis because there would be no loss of life on the part of the US. But if it dropped the nuclear bomb on China, China's ally the Soviet Union would help China seek revenge," Lee Shih-ping, a military expert, said.
"And if the nuclear bomb was dropped, it would strengthen China's determination to recover Taiwan,' he added.
Lee Hua-chiu, a researcher at the Society for Strategic Studies, also believed it was unlikely that the US would use a nuclear bomb on China.
"This would concern nuclear proliferation, so the US was not likely to use it. For the same reason, President John F. Kennedy overruled using nuclear bomb against Cuba during the Cuban missile crisis in 1961," he said.
According to declassified US Air Force documents, in the summer of 1958, President Dwight D. Eisenhower rejected a proposal by military commanders to use nuclear weapons against China, if communist forces blockaded the Taiwan Strait.
The US military had considered dropping a nuclear bomb with the force of 10,000-15,000 tons of TNT on Xiamen, a city on China's southeast coast, according to documents made public by George Washington University's National Security Archive.
The idea of the bombing was intended as a warning to China that if it did not lift the blockade of the Taiwan Strait, the US would attack Chinese airfields.
But Eisenhower ruled out the initial use of nuclear weapons, concluding the fallout would cause civilian casualties in China and on Taiwan, risking nuclear escalation.
With the nuclear attack overruled, the US supplied conventional weapons - cannons, F-104 warplanes and Hercules anti-air missiles - to Taiwan, seat of the Chinese Nationalists since 1949.
China sought to recover Taiwan, but due to US support of the Chinese Nationalists' army - 60,000 troops that fled with Chiang Kai- shek to Taiwan after Chiang had lost the Chinese Civil War on the mainland.
Although the US switched diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China in 1979, it signed the Taiwan Relations Act pledging to continue to sell weapons to Taiwan.
Currently the US remains Taiwan's top arms suppliers and plays a vital role in maintaining peace in the Taiwan Strait. It has urged China not to use force against Taiwan and warning the island nation not to provoke China with separatist moves.