President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday called the first of a series of National Security Council (NSC) meetings in response to what he called the “catastrophe of the century” in Japan and said he would continue to chair the meetings daily until the situation stabilizes.
“Japan is one of our important allies and our second-largest trading partner. When our friend is in trouble, we must offer a helping hand to tide them over during this difficult period,” he said.
Ma said although the disasters did not strike Taiwan, his administration must think ahead and provide the public with vital information and assistance.
“We must expect the worst and make the best preparations,” he said.
He added that the meetings would be held on a daily basis and hoped that they would meet the following objectives.
First is that information must be sufficient and transparent, he said.
Not many countries are struck by an earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis at the same time or are prepared to deal with such emergencies.
“We must face the problem candidly and be honest about what we know and what we don’t know,” he said. “Any concealment of information will delay the time of making a critical decision.”
Second was that he hoped the decision-making process would be fast and decisive. Government agencies must clearly explain the situation and provide timely information so that the general public knows what the administration is doing and government agencies know what each other is doing, he said.