U.S. Ships Nuclear Fuses to Taiwan

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. military mistakenly shipped four fuses for nuclear missiles to Taiwan in 2006, the Pentagon said on Tuesday, adding that the parts have been returned to U.S. custody.

The military was supposed to ship helicopter batteries to Taiwan but instead sent fuses used as part of the trigger mechanism on missiles.

No nuclear material was shipped to Taiwan, Pentagon officials said.

The United States has notified China, which maintains a state of war with Taiwan and is modernizing its military to close the technology gap with Taiwan's mainly U.S. weapons.

The Defense Department has ordered the Navy and Air Force to take inventory of all nuclear and nuclear-associated equipment and material and U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has ordered an investigation into the fuse incident, said Ryan Henry, principle deputy undersecretary of defense responsible for policy.