Sunday, March 28, 2010

S Korean naval vessel sinking triggers Taiwan alert.

A South Korean naval vessel blew up and sank a couple of days ago. At present there is no reason to think that North Korea was involved, or that there is any threat to Taiwan. Nevertheless President Ma declared an alert (?) ("activated a national security mechanism"), as the Taipei Times reported:
Yu said military officials would stay on “high” alert, while the ­military would maintain ­regular ­operations and make adjustments when new information is received.

The ministry said that Chief of General Staff Lin Chen-yi (林鎮夷) and three deputy chiefs of general staff have been at the military’s Hengshan Headquarters — the nation’s emergency military command center — monitoring developments.
The Taipei Times then printed the government's reasoning in the context of DPP hacks on it for overreacting, in which Premier Wu appears to deny that there really was an alert:
Some Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers yesterday said Ma’s activation of the national security mechanism was an over-reaction, with DPP Legislator William Lai (賴清德) chiding Ma for largely ignoring the more serious threat in the Taiwan Strait with China targeting more than 1,000 missiles at Taiwan.

At a separate setting yesterday, Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) said the government’s response to the South Korean incident was “appropriate,” dismissing DPP allegations of over-reaction.

“It’s an appropriate reaction as the military did not increase the alert level. If we had not reacted then that would have been irresponsible,” Wu said.
It does seem like a bit of an overreaction. In June of 2002 the two Koreas fought a ull-blown naval battle. Taiwan, then under the Chen Administration, does not appear to have taken any unusual military preparedness steps (2002 Taipei Times story). Nor do events in Korea appear to threaten Taiwan in any way.
Don't miss the comments below! And check out my blog and its sidebars for events, links to previous posts and picture posts, and scores of links to other Taiwan blogs and forums!


Beijing2008 said...

So little takes place, that you might as well have the fun of activating the security mechanism while you can. Honestly I don't know what Ma was thinking, but perhaps the security mechanism was just lying dormant begging to be used.

David said...

It does seem like an overreaction, but perhaps an outbreak of conflict on the Korean Peninsular has security implications for Taiwan that are not commonly known.

Anonymous said...

Remember The Maine!!!!

Anonymous said...

And with a Russian bomber flying directly over Taiwan with apparently no alert...

The Russian bombers flew over the UK,too, whose government took the appropriate action.

I guess Russians know who they can bomb when the Russian and Chinese solidify their alliance.

Michael Turton said...

David, I was wondering that too. The DPP approach was wrong. They should have commended the government for taking strong action and then criticized it for not behaving similarly toward the China threat.

Don said...

Note how Korea turns up at pivot points in Taiwan's modern history.

1895: Qing dynasty trades Taiwan for peace with Japan after bungled effort to assert Chinese influence over Korea.

1950: US 7th Fleet foils Communist plans for amphibious assault on Taiwan, resulting in an angry redeployment of troops from Fujian to Mukden and ultimately leading to all-out PLA surge into Korea.

2010 ?

N Korea is a Chinese puppet kept upright solely to distract and irk the US and its allies, but the PRC's primary target was and is Taiwan. A convenient flare-up across the 38th parallel, with Lil' Kim's cooperation, would preoccupy US PACOM and the Japanese Self-Defense Forces long enough for the PLA to wrap up some unfinished business down south.

It may turn out that the S Korean corvette WAS holed by a torpedo and the objective of the exercize was for China to read how the US and Japanese Earth and space-based C4ISR network lit up in response.

Anonymous said...

One of the fastest ways for an opposing voice to become ignored is for it to complain no matter what the ruling party does.

That is the danger facing the Republicans against the Democrats, and it's the danger that the DPP is in, as the opposition party.

The right thing to do is to praise good action and criticize only the bad. Pick your fights carefully.