Amid an increasing threat of North Korea launching a limited military strike against South Korea, Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) said yesterday the government has closely examined developments on the Korean Peninsula and has prepared contingency plans.
A Ministry of Foreign Affairs emergency task force has been in frequent contact with the Taipei Mission in Korea in Seoul and its branch office in Pusan to stay abreast of the latest news, and to ensure that Taiwanese students and businesspeople living in South Korea are safe and have the latest travel information, Jiang said.
Information regarding the economic situation in the region would be made available to businesspeople by the Ministry of Economic Affairs, while the Financial Supervisory Commission would carry out measures to stabilize Taiwan’s capital markets, Jiang said.
The personnel of both the Ministry of National Defense and the Ministry of Economic Affairs are on standby to provide assistance if necessary, he added.
Representative to South Korea Benjamin Liang (梁英斌) said the Seoul office has maintained regular contact with the estimated 25,000 Taiwanese living in South Korea — 8,000 of them in the capital.
A gray travel alert — the lowest level in its four-color scale — for South Korea remains in effect for the time being, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
The Tourism Bureau said there are no Taiwanese tour groups in North Korea, adding that as of yesterday, there were 1,600 Taiwanese tourists in South Korea.
At a separate setting, Richard Bush, director of the Brookings Institution’s Center for Northeast Asian Policy Studies, said he did not believe the situation on the Korean Peninsula would have too much of an impact on Taiwan’s security.
“I think Taiwan will align itself with the US and South Korea, and with others seeking to preserve peace and stability, and that’s a good thing,” Bush said.
Bush said that what has been happening over the past three or four months on the Korean Peninsula is a psychological and political test of wills between the North Korean regime on one hand, and the US and South Korea on the other hand.
Additional reporting by Shelley Shan