The Defense Department found it necessary to remove the 2018 Nuclear Posture Review document from its website and correct an erroneous reference to Taiwan as a part of mainland China.
A Pentagon spokesperson informed the Japan Times the reference was an “error.”
Several other errors were discovered in the document, including a reference to the disputed Kuril Islands as part of Russia. One version of the Nuclear Posture Review that never saw publication depicted the entire Korean peninsula under the control of North Korea. Most of these mistakes seem to have involved map graphics shaded in with national flags to illustrate which country owns each territory.
“U.S. policy toward Taiwan has remained consistent throughout seven presidential administrations, and is based on the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979, the three joint U.S.-China communiques, and the Six Assurances,” the spokesperson said.
China, of course, holds the opposite position and treats references to Taiwan as a separate country not merely as errors, but insults and threats to Chinese sovereignty. Beijing has lately been cracking down hard on private companies that make such an “error,” threatening them with punitive action unless they quickly remove references to Taiwan as a country from their websites and literature.
Along those lines, China successfully pressured German automaker Mercedes-Benz into apologizing on Tuesday for quoting the Dalai Lama of Tibet in an Instagram advertisement. The Chinese government considers the Dalai Lama to be a Tibetan separatist leader.
“We will promptly take steps to deepen our understanding of Chinese culture and values, our international staff included, to help standardize our actions to ensure this sort of issue doesn’t happen again,” the company said in its apology.
Ironically, the Dalai Lama quote that enraged Chinese censors was, “Look at the situations from all angles, and you will become more open.”
As for the 2018 Nuclear Posture Review’s substantive content, it is generally consistent with the last few Pentagon assessments of the nuclear threat posed by China, North Korea, and rogue actors, but is notably insistent that the threat posed by Russia should be taken more seriously.