U.S. Considered Nuclear Strike On China In 1958 To Defend Taiwan
WASHINGTON - Declassified top secret documents that were posted on the internet by Daniel Ellsberg from the "Pentagon Papers" show reveal that the United States considered a nuclear strike on China in 1958 to prevent an invasion of Taiwan.
The documents, which were partially declassified in 1975 state that military planners assumed that Russia would come to the aid of China if the country was attacked, and that both countries would resort to nuclear weapons in such a scenario.
Ellsberg is 90 years old and is famous for leaking what is now known as the "Pentagon Papers" in 1971. The papers that were leaked were from a top secret study on the war in Vietnam.
He said that he decided to release the study on the Taiwan Crisis from the 1970's, now that tensions between the United States and China are again at an all time high over Taiwan.
The documents state that if an invasion of Taiwan had taken place, the Joint Chiefs of Staff at that time "made it clear that the United States would have used nuclear weapons against Chinese air bases to prevent a successful air interdiction campaign".
If the use of nuclear weapons on Chinese air bases didn't work to deter China, the document stated that there would be "no alternative but to conduct nuclear strikes deep into China as far north as Shanghai".
The danger of nuclear war in the event of an invasion abated however when China stopped carrying out artillery strikes on Taiwan's islands in 1958.
China still considers Taiwan to be Chinese owned territory and sees them as an "inalienable part of China" and a "breakaway province" that China believes should be 'reunified' with the mainland.
The communist party has been increasing incursions into Taiwan's ADIZ (Air Defense Identification Zone) with military aircraft over the last year, with dramatic increases in incursions in the past few months. 27 times in January, 17 in February, 18 in March and 22 incursions in April.
There is also an increased risk of an invasion now that the demand for microchips have risen dramatically. China consumes 60% of the world's microchips and Taiwan produces 60% of the world's microchips. An invasion on Taiwan would give China control of one of the world's most profitable industries, and ensure their own demand is met at the same time.