Tue, Apr 07, 2009 - Page 3 News List

Lawmakers pan delayed protest against N Korea

By Jenny W. Hsu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Lawmakers across party lines blasted the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) yesterday at a meeting of the Foreign and National Defense Committee for failing to lodge an immediate protest against North Korea after it launched a rocket on Sunday.

Later yesterday, the ministry released a statement accusing Pyongyang of violating a UN resolution.

“If the rocket had veered a little south, Taiwan would have been within range,” Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lee Chia-chin (李嘉進) said at the committee meeting, urging the ministry to follow the example of other countries and the UN in publicly condemning Pyongyang.

As Taiwan has declared this year a “year of special partnership” with Japan, it “should express its utmost concern when its good friend faces danger,” Lee said.

“Many countries denounced North Korea immediately after the launch, but Taiwan, being one of the countries in the region, has not uttered a word. Why has Taiwan withheld its condemnation?” Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯) said.

MOFA Deputy Minister Javier Hou (侯清山) responded by saying that MOFA staff had worked overtime last weekend to monitor the situation and would release a statement after consulting other government agencies.

The statement, released almost a day and a half after the rocket was launched, said North Korea had violated UN Security Council Resolution 1718 by launching a long-range rocket.

The Republic of China condemns North Korea for harming the stability of East Asia and urges all sides to abide by UN protocols and resolve conflict pragmatically and sensibly, it said.

On Sunday morning, North Korea launched a long-range rocket despite pressure from the US, South Korea, Japan and the UN.

Pyongyang says the satellite successfully reached orbit, but Japan said two objects failed to reach orbit, one of which fell into the Sea of Japan and the other into the Pacific Ocean.

In a press release on Thursday, MOFA had urged Pyongyang to exercise restraint.

In related news, DPP Legislator Twu Shiing-jer (?? urged MOFA to look into a report by Chinese state media that said French President Nicolas Sarkozy told Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) at last week’s G20 Summit in London that he believed “there is only one China in the world and Taiwan and Tibet constitute inalienable parts of Chinese territory.”

Twu asked whether the ministry had looked into the report. The ministry should lodge a strong protest against Xinhua news agency if it misquoted the French president, he said.

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