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Taiwan on guard ahead of Universiade: officials

2017/04/17 20:25:59

Photo courtesy of Taipei City government

Taipei, April 17 (CNA) Security and foreign affairs officials said Monday that the risk of Taiwan being targeted by terrorists during the Universiade in Taipei later this year is low, but they pledged not to let down their guard.

Peng Sheng-chu (彭勝竹), chief of the National Security Bureau, said around 140 countries have registered to take part in the Universiade, known also as the World University Games, from Aug. 19 to 30, and an estimated 12,000 athletes will compete.

Peng said that while Taiwan is not a prime target of terrorist organizations, athletes coming from other countries to the games could be potential targets based on previous attacks at international sports events, and Taiwan could not get complacent.

"As far as we know, the possibility of terrorists launching an attack will be low, but we will not let down our guard," Peng said.

He was reporting on an analysis of recent terrorist attacks and counterterrorism measures during the Universiade at a legislative hearing.

Peng said the United States has sent personnel to give advice on security, and his bureau has also exchanged views on maintaining security with Brazil, which hosted the 2016 Olympics.

Other agencies gave security assessments for the Universiade in a report submitted separately to the Legislature.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs noted that according to the Global Terrorism Index issued by the Australia-based Institute for Economics & Peace in 2016, Taiwan ranked 122nd among 163 countries, indicating it is a low risk-country for terrorist attacks.

But considering the many different ethnic groups taking part in the Universiade, Taiwan still could be a potential target and the government has to make all security preparations, the ministry said.

The National Immigration Agency said it will step up its screening of travelers entering and exiting the country, and the National Police Agency said it will mobilize around 7,000 police a day to maintain security during the competition.

(By Hsieh Chia-chen and Lilian Wu)