Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) said yesterday the DPP's position on building a "nuclear-free homeland" remained unchanged.
However, he emphasized that the administration was bound by a legislative resolution to continue building the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant.
Hsieh was responding to former Academia Sinica president and Nobel laureate Lee Yuan-tseh's (李遠哲) support for the construction of the nuclear power plant. Lee issued a statement on Monday urging the presidential candidates to support the construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant. The statement was issued by Academia Sinica on behalf of its environment and energy team. Lee is the convener of the group.
The statement said the nation could not obtain sufficient alternative sources of energy and was bound to increase the consumption of coal-fired power if construction of the plant were halted.
While coal took up 32 percent of the nation's total energy in 2000, the statement said that figure is expected to jump to 44 percent in 2025. Carbon dioxide emissions would then increase by 60 percent in 2025 from the 2000 levels, the statement said.
Hsieh said that if elected, his administration would initiate no new nuclear power plant projects and replace the old units with newer, more efficient and lower risk ones.
Lee said yesterday that he had talked to former DPP chairman Lin I-hsiung (林義雄), who has vigorously lobbied for a referendum to decide the fate of the new nuclear power plant.
"He did not completely oppose the idea of postponing the nuclear-free homeland policy for 50 years," Lee said.
Nuclear power is a better and more feasible source of energy given the nation's limited energy resources, Lee said in a speech at Academia Sinica yesterday morning. It was necessary to continue the operation of the First and Second nuclear power plants because effective ways of handling nuclear waste were now available, he said.
Lee dismissed speculation that his actions were politically motivated, saying he was just doing what he thought was right. Lee's last-minute endorsement of President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) in the 2000 presidential election campaign was seen by some as a key factor in Chen's victory.
Meanwhile, Hsieh yesterday attributed the recent announcement of a relaxation of cross-strait economic policy to successful internal party negotiations.
Among the measures proposed was one to attract Taiwanese businesspeople based in China to return home by offering them technological assistance, capital and labor.
Hsieh, who advocates a more liberal cross-strait economic policy, said he would push for the development of a low-risk, low-polluting manufacturing industry that would increase job opportunities.
While it was government policy to encourage Chinese investment, Hsieh said his understanding was that Chinese investors would still be barred from buying property.
Hsieh said he had always opposed Chinese investment in the real estate market because property would become less affordable for younger people if prices rose because of Chinese investors.
While the real estate sector might welcome Chinese investment for the sake of short-term profits, Hsieh said he had always opposed it because it was bound to do more harm than good to the economy.
"I don't think the Executive Yuan or the Mainland Affairs Council [MAC] would allow this to happen because we have talked about it," he said.
Hsieh was responding to questions about a report published in yesterday's Chinese-language China Times, which said that the MAC was expected to allow Chinese nationals to invest in the local real estate market and to ease the limits on the percentage of funds they could borrow against such property.
The report said the MAC was also planning to allow Chinese nationals to borrow money from financial institutions without providing any source of collateral and to extend the period Chinese nationals could stay in Taiwan from 10 days to 90 days.
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