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No plan to evacuate Taiwanese expats in South Korea: Foreign Minister

"The latest information we received is that the situation in Seoul is quite stable," Joseph Shih said. -China Post/ANN
Joseph Yeh

Thu, Apr 11, 2013
The China Post/Asia News Network

TAIPEI, Taiwan - There is no plan to evacuate Taiwanese nationals in South Korea amid threats of attacks by North Korea, but the government is closely monitoring developments on the Korean Peninsula, the deputy foreign minister said yesterday.

"The latest information we received is that the situation in Seoul is quite stable," Joseph Shih said yesterday in the Legislative Yuan when asked to comment on the escalating tension on the Korean Peninsula.

Asked if Taiwan is prepared to evacuate its nationals from South Korea, Shih said that the ministry is concerned about the Korean situation and the safety of Taiwanese in the Northeast Asian country but it is not yet necessary to evacuate nationals.

"No country has started evacuating expats from South Korea and so far we have no plan to do so," he noted, adding that repatriating its nationals would be a last resort.

Shih added that Taiwan's representative office in South Korea has set up a task force to stay on top of events there and prepare for all possible scenarios.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) also has no plan to raise the travel alert for South Korea, he added.

The Foreign Ministry currently has the travel alert for South Korea set at "gray," which reminds Taiwanese travelers to take appropriate precautions to ensure their personal safety while visiting there.

Gray is the lowest alert level under MOFA's four-colour travel advisory system.

According to MOFA, currently there are more than 16,000 Taiwanese expatriates living in South Korea, with nearly half of them in the nation's capital.

Shih made the remarks after North Korea warned foreigners in South Korea to take evacuation measures on Tuesday in case of war, in the latest escalation of warnings from Pyongyang.

Japanese media reported that North Korea has informed some diplomats that it will fire missiles toward the Sea of Japan on Wednesday.

Possible Attack No Threat to Taiwan: MND

The Ministry of National Defence, meanwhile, said yesterday that it was also monitoring developments on the Korean Peninsula but said that the possible missile launch will not pose any threat to the country's national security because of the great distance between the two countries.

But Taiwan's military is ready to take responsive measures if necessary, utilizing the long-range early warning Surveillance Radar Program and Patriot Advanced Capability-3 missiles, Chief of General Staff Yen Ming said yesterday.

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