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Taiwan president calls security alert after Korean clash
No change yet in Ma`s schedule in Palau
By Dennis Engbarth in Koror
Taiwan News, Staff Reporter
2010-03-27 12:13 AM
President Ma Ying-jeou ordered Defence Minister Kao Hwa-chu to initiate the national security mechanism to monitor developments in the wake of the sinking of a South Korean patrol boat by a North Korean navy vessel off Baengnyeong Island west of North Korea Friday evening.

According to news reports, 59 of the 104 officers and staff on the South Korean naval ship had been rescued after the attack which occurred shortly before 11 pm (10 pm Taiwan time), but the reasons for the clash were still unclear.

After televised reports of the sinking reached Ma, the president called an emergency security meeting with National Security Council Secretary-General Hu Wei-chen and other staff accompanying him on the last evening of a six day series of state visits to Taiwan`s six Pacific allies.

Presidential Spokesman Lo Chih-chiang told reporters accompanying Ma about the emergency meeting, which was convened at held at 12 midnight in the wake of the reports of the event.

Lo said that the president had telephoned Defense Minister Kao Hwa-chu and Armed Forces Chief of Staff Lin Chen-ying and asked them ``initiate the national security mechanism and pay close attention to developments in South Korea and adopt necessary measures.``

Lo stated that the president had not yet decided to change his schedule for the last day of his visit in Koror.

Government Information Office Minister Chiang Chi-chen related that he had already called Premier Wu Den-yih to notify him of the president`s decision, and Wu had in turn stated that the Executive Yuan had been carefully monitoring the situation.

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