Translated and compiled by Shin-wei Chang
An academic has called on the Taiwan government to take a closer look at the impact of a possible terror attack on the island.
Lin Tai-ho, associate professor at the Institute of Strategic and International Affairs in National Chung Cheng University, says there have been 51 terror attacks linked to Taiwan since 1970.
Lin says there have been three waves of terrorism in Taiwan, including the White Terror, organizational terrorism and so-called lone wolf terrorism.
He points out that Taiwanese often view terror attacks as major events like the recent ISIS attacks in Belgium and Paris. However, in a broad terms, attacks in crowded public transportation areas are also considered terror attacks, he says, such as Cheng Chieh’s 2014 killing spree on the MRT. As a result, Lin believes, terror attacks are never far from Taiwan.
Last November, Peter Enav, former head of the Associated Press bureau in Taiwan, also mentioned the possibility for Taiwan to be attacked by terrorists, and noted “the country’s abysmally low security awareness quotient."
Lin says, under the United States’ Taiwan Relations Act, Taiwan has been standing by the US in terror-related military campaigns and thus exposing itself to the risk of terror attacks. For example, in March, it was reported that there might be Indonesian migrant workers in Taiwan with links to ISIS. Moreover, Al-Qaeda is also thought to have intended to carry out a car bomb attack at Taipei Songshan Airport in 2002.
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Last February, an artist’s impression of a destroyed Taipei was circulated on Twitter by a user allegedly affiliated with ISIS. The government said at the time it had activated the emergency anti-terrorism contact mechanism between different departments of the government.
Call for drafting law for terror attacks
Still, Lin says, without new regulations in place, if a terror attack happens different government departments might not know how to cooperate effectively and react to the incident within a short time.
Lin says the government provides information to citizens on what to do in other emergencies, like a fire or an earthquake, but it does not give similar information for terror attacks.
He says both the people and the government should take this issue seriously. While China enforced its anti-terrorism legislation in 2016, he says, the government should make laws to reduce the harm of any possible attack.
Lin, in a press statement released this week, does not specify the 51 Taiwan-related terror events or how they are related to Taiwan, though he did publish a paper on the issue last year.
Edited by Edward White