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President Chen Presides over the Fourth High-level National Security Meeting Regarding the Sept. 11 Attacks in the US

Taipei, Oct. 22 (CNA) President Chen Shui-bian urged relevant government agencies to heighten alert on all possible forms of terrorist biowarfare and take effective steps to help enhance public awareness of anthrax risk.

Chen gave the directives after presiding over the fourth high-level national security meeting regarding the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in the United States.

Noting that the current U.S.-led war on global terrorism is an unprecedented new type of warfare, Chen said international terrorist organizations have not only threatened the U.S. domestic security but has also posed great threat to global stability and values.

A U.S.-proposed anti-terrorism statement issued at the end of this year's informal leadership meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in Shanghai Sunday indicates that counter-terrorism has become a prevailing international stance, Chen said. "Although Taiwan was forced to absent itself from the Shanghai APEC summit in protest against Beijing's rude discrimination," Chen pointed out, "the government has pledged its adamant support for the ongoing global anti-terrorism campaign."

Against this backdrop, Chen said, all relevant government agencies should remember this promise and come up with concrete work plans in follow-up APEC working meetings. "We should actively take part in various action plans in intelligence and information exchanges, security inspections, anti-money laundering and strengthening of energy security," Chen explained.

He further said although the Republic of China is not a U.N. member, the executive and legislative branches should work together to substantiate the various U.N.-initiated anti-terrorism conventions and resolutions in domestic laws and statutes. "As the ROC-U.S. judicial assistance agreement, initialed by the two sides earlier this year, forms an integral part of bilateral cooperation in crackdown on cross-border organized crime and acts of terror," Chen said, "I hope the executive branch can lobby the legislature to ratify the accord during its current session."

In view of gradual spread of anthrax infections, Chen said, relevant government agencies should step up precautions. In addition to staging anti-anthrax drills and intensifying publicity campaign, he said, the government should start evaluation and planning of vaccine purchases and supply sources.

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