President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration condemned North Korea’s latest nuclear test yesterday.
The test drew severe condemnations from the international community, with both the South Korean and Japanese governments holding security meetings immediately afterward to formulate countermeasures.
In Taipei the government did not take any action until 3:25pm, when the Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement denouncing the test and repeating calls by the international community for North Korea to forsake its nuclear ambitions.
“The Republic of China [ROC] government strongly condemns North Korea’s spate of recent provocative acts by launching a satellite and carrying out nuclear weapons tests … we solemnly urge North Korea to abide by concerned UN Security Council resolutions and refrain from acts that could jeopardize regional security, for the sake of peace, stability and prosperity of the Korean Peninsula as well as in the East Asian region,” the statement said.
While Executive Yuan spokesperson Cheng Li-wun (鄭麗文) said that Premier Sean Chen (陳冲) had been aware of North Korea’s plan to conduct a nuclear test, and that the foreign ministry and the Ministry of National Defense had mapped out countermeasures, the government’s slow response to the test caused a storm of criticism from netizens.
Some netizens said the Ma administration was indulging in Lunar New Year festivities when neighboring countries were busy thinking up countermeasures, while others urged the government to take substantial measures rather than simply issuing a denunciation.
Meanwhile, Democratic Progressive Party Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) posted a message on his Facebook page urging the administration not to let down its guard just because North Korea’s latest nuclear test came during a holiday period.
The government should pay close attention to the evolving situation and cooperate with neighboring counties to maintain stability and prosperity in the region, Su said.
The nuclear test can do nothing to help North Korea develop its country and can only deepen the international community’s distrust of its regime, Su said.
He said that the incident highlighted the importance of his recent initiative that countries in the region which share common values should form a “democratic alliance” to strengthen cooperation with each other.
Additional reporting by Shih Hsiu-chuan