No de­lay in travel warn­ing for Bangkok, says for­eign min­is­ter

The China Post - - LOCAL - BY JOSEPH YEH

For­eign Min­is­ter David Lin ( ) yesterday de­fended the min­istry’s de­ci­sion to raise its travel alert for Bangkok on late Tues­day fol­low­ing a deadly ex­plo­sion in the cap­i­tal city of Thai­land, a move that was crit­i­cized by lo­cal media as not soon enough.

An­swer­ing ques­tions on the side­lines of a min­istry event in Taipei, Lin said he be­lieves the min­istry made a timely ad­just­ment to the travel alert is­sued fol­low­ing the deadly blast that oc­curred at a tourist hotspot in down­town Bangkok late Mon­day.

“No, I don’t think there is any de­lay on the min­istry’s part in rais­ing the travel warn­ing for Bangkok,” Lin told re­porters, when asked to com­ment on the crit­i­cism lev­eled at the min­istry over the de­ci­sion made at 10 p.m. Tues­day.

The min­istry made the ad­just­ment swiftly in the wake of a se­ries of ex­plo­sions that took place in the Thai cap­i­tal city, Lin said.

Lin said he has full con­fi­dence in his col­leagues sta­tioned at the na­tion’s rep­re­sen­ta­tive of­fice in Thai­land.

“The min­istry has to take many fac­tors into con­sid­er­a­tion be­fore mak­ing the travel warn­ing ad­just­ment,” Lin said.

The min­istry has to study the first­hand in­for­ma­tion re­ported by the rep­re­sen­ta­tive of­fice in Bangkok, take into ac­count the Thai gov­ern­ment’s eval­u­a­tion of the latest sit­u­a­tions, and check if other coun­tries have also raised travel warn­ings be­fore mak­ing the ad­just­ment, he said.

Lin made the com­ments in re­sponse to a Chi­nese-lan­guage Ap­ple Daily re­port yesterday which ac­cused the min­istry of fail­ing to make more swift ac­tion in rais­ing the travel warn­ing.

Tai­wan’s Tourism Bureau re­lies on the For­eign Min­istry’s travel alert to de­cide whether to al­low travel agen­cies and air­lin­ers to grant a full re­fund to trav­el­ers who plan to visit a travel des­ti­na­tion but de­cide to can­cel the trip due to nat­u­ral dis­as­ters or ter­ror­ist at­tacks.

The news­pa­per said many Tai­wanese trav­el­ers have de­cided to can­cel planned trips to Thai­land but can not re­ceive a full re­fund be­cause the min­istry did not raise the travel alert to or­ange from yel­low un­til late night Tues­day.

Un­der MOFA’s four-color travel ad­vi­sory sys­tem, an “or­ange” alert is the sec­ond-high­est level of warn­ing — one level be­low red — and means Tai­wanese trav­el­ers should take pre­cau­tions and avoid the area if pos­si­ble.

Asked to com­ment, Lin said the min­istry has been in talks with the Tourism Bureau over the travel alert is­sue.

“The travel warn­ing is only meant to re­flect the latest sit­u­a­tion in a for­eign coun­try and to serve as a re­minder for Tai­wanese trav­el­ers be­fore vis­it­ing a cer­tain coun­try or area,” he said.

“It was not meant to serve as the only in­di­ca­tor for a re­fund,” Lin noted.

In­jured Tai­wanese in Sta­ble


More than 20 peo­ple were killed and more than 100 in­jured dur­ing the deadly ex­plo­sion near the Erawan Shrine late Mon­day, among them six Tai­wanese. Two smallscale ex­plo­sions oc­curred on Tues­day, leav­ing no ca­su­al­ties.

Mean­while, MOFA spokes­woman Eleanor Wang ( ) yesterday said that the four R.O.C. cit­i­zens cur­rently hos­pi­tal­ized in Bangkok fol­low­ing the blast have seen their sit­u­a­tions sta­bi­lize.

There were orig­i­nally six R.O.C. na­tion­als who suf­fered in­juries dur­ing the Mon­day blast.

A fa­ther and his daugh­ter, both sur­named Chang, re­turned to Tai­wan on Tues­day af­ter­noon af­ter un­der­go­ing ini­tial med­i­cal treat­ment at a Bangkok hos­pi­tal.

Fam­ily mem­bers of the other four Tai­wanese hos­pi­tal­ized in Bangkok have ar­rived in the Thai cap­i­tal to take care of their fam­i­lies, Wang said.

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