Taiwan steps up border security in wake of Paris attacks

Taipei, Nov. 15 (CNA) Taiwanese politicians on Sunday called for increased security measures at air and sea ports and strengthened protection of candidates in the wake of heinous terrorist attacks in Paris that had claimed at least 129 lives. Premier Mao Chi-kuo (???), stumping for a ruling party legislative candidate in Taipei, said all Taiwanese expats in Paris were safe and the government was not planning to evacuate them back to the country. But he said the government will step up security checks at all entry and exit points of the country. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has upgraded its travel alert for the French capital area to "yellow" -- advising the people to consider if it is indeed necessary to visit that place. Lai Shyh-bao (???), the KMT lawmaker seeking reelection in the legislative elections set for Jan. 16, urged the public to say no to any acts of violence. "We all have the right of freedom from fear," Lai said. In Kaohsiung, southern Taiwan, Chang Hsien-yao (???), another KMT politician running for a legislative seat, said Taiwan must not think it is immune to terrorist attacks as they can take place anywhere in the world. Chang, who had studied in Paris and knows the city quite well after having lived there for seven years, said the tragedy occurred in a region of Paris that has a large ethnic Arabic, Asian and African population. "That part of Paris is known for having not-so-good social order," he said, adding that that might have given terrorists a chance to perpetrate such outrageous killings. "Of course we must not think we're immune to terrorism, especially when election campaigns are going on," he said, calling on the government to raise the security level in order to protect all candidates running for public offices. In addition to the legislative elections, Taiwan will also hold the presidential election on the same day early next year. Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (???) was looking beyond the current scare into the city's security two years down the road, when Taipei will host the 2017 University Games. Under Ko's instruction, game organizers will issue an estimated 100,000 chip ID cards to members of the press, VIPs, officials and volunteers to ensure no suspicious people will enter competition sites across the city. From the city police department to the Ministry of the Interior's National Police Agency to the National Security Bureau, "we're all prepared," Ko said. (By Wang Cheng-chung, Cheng Chi-feng, Yu Kai-hsiang and S.C. Chang)