Taiwan military still awaiting order to rescue abducted woman

Taiwan military still awaiting order to rescue abducted woman
Sombre atmosphere: Li Ren (with yellow vest) and other family members at the Tawau Hospital mortuary.

TAIPEI - The military has not yet received instructions to launch a rescue mission to save a Taiwanese woman who is believed to have been abducted from Malaysia last week, Defence Minister Yen Ming (嚴明) said yesterday.

Chang An-wei (張安薇), 58, was reportedly taken away by several gunmen last Friday while on vacation on Pom Pom Island off the east coast of Sabah.

Her 57-year-old husband, Hsu Li-min (許立民), was found dead after having been shot in the chest. Officials in Taiwan believe Chang is still alive and is taken by kidnappers to the Philippines.

Asked to comment if the military could launch a rescue mission, Ying told lawmakers yesterday that doing so in a foreign country is highly unlikely for R.O.C. armed forces because Taiwan does not have official ties with the Philippines.

“It is unlikely Taiwan will launch military action in a foreign country unless Taiwan is engaged in war with the country in question or Taiwan has signed a mutual defence treaty with that country,” he said.

So far, the MND has also has not received instruction from high-ranking government officials about launching such mission, Yen added.

Yen called Chang's abduction is an “international incident” that the military could not intervene with.

He said the Cabinet has made it clear that the incident will be handled by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the National Police Agency under the Ministry of Interior and the Department of Justice.

But he stressed that the military's special forces do have the capability and have been trained to launch such rescue mission.

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