Fri, Jan 10, 2020 - Page 3 News List

Tsai convenes security meeting on Middle East tensions

HIGH-LEVEL BRIEFING:The foreign ministry was ordered to prepare an evacuation plan for Taiwanese expatriates and travelers in the region in case one is needed

By Su Yung-ya and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Rising US-Iran tensions prompted President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday to convene a high-level national security meeting to discuss the government’s responses, Presidential Office spokesman Alex Huang (黃重諺) said.

Cabinet ministers and agency heads briefed Tsai on the impact of a potential escalation of the crisis and the president ordered officials to take steps to safeguard the nation’s financial system, energy supply, Taiwanese in the Middle East and peace in the Taiwan Strait, Huang told a press conference.

She also decided to raise the alert level for the military ahead of tomorrow’s elections, he said.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs, the Financial Supervisory Commission and the central bank were told to closely monitor the stock and currency markets, ensure their basic operational capabilities and take measures to stabilize the nation’s finances if necessary, Huang said.

“Taiwan has a solid economic base and such measures are aimed at possible short-term effects” from the potential deterioration of US-Iran relations, he cited Tsai as telling the meeting.

The president said that national crude reserves could provide energy for more than 100 days, so the public should not worry, as the authorities would ensure that prices remain balanced and that people’s daily lives would not be affected, Huang added.

Tsai told the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to monitor developments, ensure that it can contact Taiwanese residents and travelers in the region and draw up a contingency plan for their evacuation, if necessary, he said.

The Ministry of National Defense was told to closely monitor the Strait to prevent China from making any moves while the US’ attention is focused on the Middle East, he said.

The security meeting was attended by Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), National Security Council (NSC) Secretary-General David Lee (李大維), Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮), Minister of National Defense Yen De-fa (嚴德發), Mainland Affairs Council Minister Chen Ming-tong (陳明通), Minister of Economic Affairs Shen Jong-chin (沈榮津), National Security Bureau Director-General Chiu Kuo-cheng (邱國正), NSC Deputy Secretary-General Tsai Ming-yen (蔡明彥) and NSC Adviser Shih Jun-ji (施俊吉).

The foreign ministry late on Wednesday night issued a red travel alert for Iraq and four Iranian provinces, its highest level alert.

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