President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said yesterday the government will draw up a two-stage plan to establish a ministry of oceanic affairs to oversee all maritime and fishery matters.
Ma made the remarks after presiding over an anti-terror exercise in Kaohsiung Harbor that replaced a live-fire military drill meant to simulate a Chinese attack.
“Setting up a ministry of oceanic affairs was a campaign pledge. It will be actualized through a two-stage plan,” he said. “In the first phase, a council on oceanic affairs will be set up. The council will then become a ministry of oceanic affairs when the time is ripe.”
PHOTO: CHANG CHUNG-YI, TAIPEI TIMES
Meanwhile, the government will appropriate NT$25 billion (US$767 million) by 2017 to acquire larger vessels to boost the Coast Guard Administration (CGA), he said, because the coast guard shoulders responsibility for the nation’s sea security alongside the navy.
During the drill at Hsinkuang Wharf (新光碼頭), speedboat-borne “terrorists” hijacked an oil tanker belonging to state-run CPC Corp, Taiwan and a cruise boat hired for next month’s 2009 World Games.
The “terrorists,” holding 23 hostages, then tried to dock at the wharf and launch a land attack.
Coast guard personnel launched a counter-assault by blocking off the wharf to stop the attackers from landing, while coast guard cutters surrounded the two hijacked ships. Helicopters hovered overhead to monitor the situation, while officers began negotiations with the terrorists.
Coast guard special unit divers then swam to the hijacked vessels, while other personnel prepared to descend by rope from the helicopters. A joint water and air assault was successful and the hostages were rescued — including some who were “pushed” into the sea — while the “terrorists” committed suicide by detonating bombs they were wearing.
Coast guard cutters quickly doused fires triggered by the “bombs” on the ships, while more helicopters dropped rope-mop oil skimmers around the ships to prevent possible oil leaks.
The CGA said 995 personnel took part in the drill, which involved eight helicopters and a total of 37 cruisers, cutters and other ships.
“It was very impressive. The officers were well trained and performed well,” Ma said afterwards.
Later yesterday, Ma visited National Kaohsiung Hospitality College, where he outlined his vision of Taiwan becoming a “tourism island” through a concerted effort by the private and public sectors.
“With reconciliation between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait, we no longer need to spend time worrying about war,” Ma said in an address to the school’s faculty and students.
“It is therefore necessary for the authorities to make tourism one of our six flagship industries to develop Taiwan into a global tourist attraction,” he said.
TWO CASES: The five allegedly conspired with conglomerates, threatening the nation’s governance and subverting the rules of ethical conduct, a deputy chief prosecutor said Taipei prosecutors yesterday charged three legislators and one former lawmaker with contravening the Anti-Corruption Act (貪污治罪條例) in a case linked to former Pacific Distribution Investment Co (太平洋流通) chairman Lee Heng-lung’s (李恆隆) battle with the Far Eastern Group (遠東集團) over ownership of the Pacific SOGO Department Store (太平洋崇光百貨) chain, while independent Legislator Chao Cheng-yu (趙正宇) was indicted in a separate case involving two funeral services companies and a plot of land in a national park. Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators Chen Chao-ming (陳超明) and Sufin Siluko (廖國棟), Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Su Chen-ching (蘇震清) and former New Power Party legislator
Swedish Member of Parliament Hampus Hagman is pushing for changing the name of the nation’s trade office in Taipei to signal improved relations with “Asia’s perhaps foremost democracy.” Hagman on Wednesday last week proposed renaming the Swedish Trade and Invest Council to “Sweden’s Office in Taipei,” following similar changes by other nations. The Swedish Trade and Invest Council, part of Business Sweden, is owned by the Swedish government and Swedish industry. Taiwan and Sweden share important values such as respect for democracy, human rights, the rule of law and freedom of speech, Hagman said in the motion, adding that the two nations
PENGHU INSPECTION: Taiwan cannot let its enemies strut around in its airspace, Tsai said, one day after a Chinese spokesman denied a median line exists in the Taiwan Strait Following China’s assertion on Monday that there is no “median line” in the Taiwan Strait, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday pledged to defend the nation’s airspace during a visit to an air force base in Penghu, saying that Taiwan cannot allow others to flex their military muscle in its territorial airspace. Tsai praised the “heroic performance” of the pilots of the Indigenous Defense Fighters who have been intercepting Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force planes in recent days. “I have a lot of confidence in you. As soldiers of the Republic of China [ROC], how could we let enemies strut
EFFICIENCY: The rules for Philippine arrivals were revised after 17.6% of arrivals with symptoms tested positive, compared with 0.7% of those with no symptoms Starting today, Chinese spouses who hold a reunion permit can apply to enter Taiwan and travelers without symptoms from the Philippines do not need to be tested for COVID-19 upon arrival, but are to be tested after a 14-day quarantine, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that from today, Chinese who are married to a Taiwanese citizen and hold a reunion permit can apply to the National Immigration Agency for entry into Taiwan. Chinese who are married to a foreign national and hold an accompanied reunion permit