Almost everyday in Taiwan is a crisis of sorts for me. But the Japan Times ジャパンタイムズ today has an article on a different kind of Taiwanese crisis, and how it was related to Japan. The headline of the article, "'58 Taiwan Strait crisis saw nukes in Okinawa" http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20081023f3.html, says it all:
"Two types of nuclear bombs were deployed at Kadena Air Base 嘉手納飛行場 in Okinawa 沖縄 around the time the United States was considering nuclear strikes on China during the Taiwan Strait crisis 金門砲戦 in 1958, a declassified U.S. document showed Tuesday. Previously released documents have shown the U.S. military was considering a plan to carry out nuclear strikes against mainland China from then U.S.-occupied Okinawa during the crisis, in which Chinese and Taiwanese forces clashed in the strait."
You can read about the Second Taiwan Strait Crisis here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Taiwan_Strait_Crisis. The article goes on to say that:
"...the U.S. had a plan to drop nuclear bombs on Chinese airfields in Amoy, now Xiamen 廈門, in the event the Chinese blockaded the islands. According to a separate, declassified U.S. Air Force document...the U.S. had a plan to launch initial atomic strikes against China from Clark Air Base in the Philippines and Kadena, with the option of more strikes from these bases if necessary."
For those of you who might otherwise be unaware, the Republic of China 中華民国 government on Taiwan controls two groups of islands just offshore from the Chinese mainland, Kinmen (Chinmen/Kimmon) 金門 and Matsu 馬祖. I've never had an overwhelming urge to visit these places, as I've always considered them to be more a part of China, and not Taiwan. Sinophiliacs such as my Aussie co-worker Ivan might have trouble wrapping their minds around this, but I've never had much of an interest in visiting the mainland (I did spend a great week in Hong Kong 香港 back in 1993, but at that time it was still a British colony, and the combination of British and Chinese influences was part of the attraction for me). Technically speaking, if you follow the One China 一つの中国 line of thinking, Kinmen and Matsu are not part of the province of Taiwan, but fall under the administration of Fujian (Fukken) Province 福建省. In the unlikely event the Chinese government should ever acquiesce to the establishment of an independent Republic of Taiwan 台湾共和国, I would think these islands would have to be returned to China's control. Seeing as the residents of Kinmen and Matsu vote overwhelmingly for the KMT 中国国民党 in every election, I doubt such a reversion would become an impediment.
But I digress, for the Japan Times article got me to do some additional perusing of the latest edition of Lonely Planet's ロンリープラネット Taiwan guide. And from what I've read so far, it sounds like these islands could make for an interesting trip. Matsu, in particular, seems to have great beaches, interesting sites related to military history and the chance to stay overnight in a 200 year-old Fujian-style stone house. It seems I may have to rethink what constitutes "Taiwan".
As for that dedicated Sinologist Ivan, his love of things Chinese apparently extends to sturgeon チョウザメ fishing and caviar キャビア production in Heilongjiang (Kokuryūkō) Province 黒龍江省, judging from a conversation I had with him the other day. The more I listen to him, the more I'm convinced Sinophilia is much like alcoholism アルコール依存症: most of us can enjoy what Chinese culture has to offer without letting it dominate our lives/thinking (not to mention clouding our judgment/moral compasses), but for an unfortunate few...