Sun, Jul 03, 2016 - Page 1 News List

Tsai gets NSC brief on missile mishap

‘SHOULD NOT HAVE HAPPENED’:Upon her return to Taiwan yesterday, the president said the government would shoulder all responsibility for the missile launch

By Loa Iok-sin  /  Staff reporter

President Tsai Ing-wen yesterday comments on the accidental launch of an anti-ship missile during a news conference at Taoyuan International Airport after her return from a visit to Panama and Paraguay.

Photo: Chu Pei-hsiung, Taipei Times

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday sought a briefing from the National Security Council (NSC) on the accidental launch of an anti-ship missile on Friday.

Tsai, who earlier yesterday returned from a trip to Panama and Paraguay, was briefed by National Security Council officials and the Ministry of National Defense.

The briefing took place from 5:30pm to 7:30pm.

According to Presidential Office spokesman Alex Huang (黃重諺), Tsai, following the briefing, instructed the Ministry of National Defense and the navy to carry out a thorough review on management, personnel training and discipline.

Tsai also asked the Ministry of National Defense to produce a plan within two months on how it can better improve its weaponry management and control, Huang said.

Saying that the government would deal with the fallout of the incident with a responsible attitude, Tsai was also quoted by Huang as directing the military to cooperate with a prosecutors’ investigation into the matter so justice can be served for the family of the captain of the Taiwanese fishing boat, who was killed in the incident.

Tsai also instructed government agencies to explain the matter to neighboring countries and China, adding that her administration is determined to maintain cross-strait, and regional, peace and stability.

Upon arriving at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, Tsai offered her condolences to the family of fishing boat captain Huang Wen-chung (黃文忠), and promised that the government would take responsibility for the incident.

“I would like to give my deepest condolences to the family of fishing vessel Hsiang Li Sheng’s (翔利昇) captain, Huang Wen-chung,” Tsai said at a news conference. “Mrs Huang is right: This should not have happened at all. I promise all our compatriots that the government will shoulder the responsibility and deal with the aftermath.”

Separately yesterday, Premier Lin Chuan (林全) also called a meeting with top Cabinet officials from 9:30am to about 12:30pm, during which he urged the Ministry of National Defense and the judiciary to launch a probe into an alleged information leak following the missile incident on Friday.

“The leak has placed national security under serious threat and in addition to having the Ministry of National Defense enhance protection of confidential information, the High Prosecutors’ Office should also conduct a thorough investigation,” Cabinet spokesman Tung Chen-yuan (童振源) quoted the premier as saying at a news conference after the meeting.

Lin was referring to some people — notably Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Policy Committee executive director Alex Tsai (蔡正元) — having learned the details of the missile mishap and publishing them on the Internet before the news was officially released.

In addition to dealing with the alleged leak, Lin also asked the ministry to review and improve the standard operating procedures for firing a missile, training of relevant personnel and discipline, as well as pursuing those who should be held accountable for the accident, Tung said.

“The ministry should also take the initiative to release the non-confidential results of its investigation on both the alleged leak and the missile mishap itself, and post them on the ministry’s official Web site to address any doubts the public might have,” Tung quoted Lin as saying. “The ministry should also take the initiative to contact the victim’s family over national compensation issues.”

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