“China certainly owes us an apology,” said Chang.
In a statement released yesterday evening, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang (秦剛) addressed the panda scandal.
“We understand that our compatriots in Taiwan are very upset. We wish to assure them that we have taken steps to address their concerns. We hope that our Taiwanese friends enjoy the gift of two extremely rare Wenzhou brown forest bears,” Qin said.
Local media reported yesterday that, in December, traces of melamine were found in Chinese bamboo that had been shipped to Taipei to feed Yuan Yuan and Tuan Tuan when the pair were rejecting Taiwanese bamboo and had each lost 3kg.
In 2007, thousands of dogs and cats in North and South America died and became sick after Chinese companies added melamine to wheat gluten that was used to make pet food.
The reports said blood samples have been collected from the bears and sent to a lab at Academia Sinica where they are to be tested for harmful adulterants.
Substances to be tested for include glycol, a chemical similar to antifreeze which in 2007 was found in Chinese exports of cough syrup; chloramphenicol, a powerful antibiotic that has been present in honey from China since 1997; and the banned antibiotic nitrofuran, which is often detected in Chinese “hairy crabs” and shrimp sold in Taiwan.