President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) is paying close attention to the situation on the Korean Peninsula and has instructed the National Security Council (NSC) to be fully prepared for any outcome, the Presidential Office said yesterday.
Under Ma’s instruction, NSC Secretary-General Jason Yuan (袁健生) held a meeting yesterday afternoon with top officials including Minister of National Defense Kao Hua-chu (高華柱) and Minister of Foreign Affairs David Lin (林永樂), in response to the escalating tension between North and South Korea.
The president has closely been watching the situation and the government will be prepared to handle any development, Presidential Office spokesperson Lee Chia-fei (李佳霏) said, adding that Ma called on East Asian nations to jointly maintain peace and prosperity in the area and resolve disputes in a rational manner.
Tension in the Korean Peninsula showed no signs of easing, after North Korea warned of dire repercussions over UN sanctions and US military drills with South Korea.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a statement last night urged North Korea to exert self-restraint and to seek dialogue to resolve the issues about which Pyongyang is concerned.
The ministry has contingency plans for any scenario in the Korean Peninsula, and has established emergency task forces in its Taipei office and in the Taipei Mission in Korea to monitor the situation and adjust its plans, it said.
Taiwanese are advised not to travel to North Korea at present, but the ministry did not plan to raise its travel alert level for South Korea and Japan, as travel alert levels for South Korea and Japan in the US, Japan and Australia have stayed the same, the ministry said.
The ministry maintains its “gray” travel alert for South Korea and Japan — the lowest on the ministry’s four-color scale — which advises caution.
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The US, Japan and Australia conducted trilateral naval exercises in the South China Sea on Monday, the US Seventh Fleet announced yesterday. It was their fifth joint operations this year in the fleet’s area of operations, it said in a statement. The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain joined the JS Kirisame of the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force and the Royal Australian Navy’s HMAS Arunta. The Arunta’s commanding officer, Commander Troy Duggan, said that Australia was continuing to build on its already close relationship with Japan and the US. “This activity is a valuable and important opportunity for all three nations,”
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Seabed waste off the west coast is 1.5 times higher than the global average, with the mouth of the Tamsui River (淡水河) nearly 90 times dirtier, the environmental consultancy IndigoWaters (澄洋環境顧問) said yesterday. The firm in September last year began collaborating with local oceanographers on Taiwan’s first survey of seabed waste off the west coast, collecting 6,000 samples from near the mouths of eight rivers and conducting 215 inspections. Of the samples, 83.3 percent were found to contain trash, the group said. Based on the survey, every square kilometer of seabed had about 121,074 pieces of trash weighing 102kg, IndigoWaters chief executive Yen