Sat, Oct 15, 2005 - Page 2 News List

Panda issue is nothing out of the ordinary: Hsieh


The issue of China's "gift" of pandas to Taiwan should be resolved in accordance with international norms and the precedents of cross-strait exchanges, Premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) said yesterday.

Responding to People First Party (PFP) Legislator Shen Chih-hui (沈智慧) on whether the administration is prepared to give a green light on Taiwan's acceptance of two pandas from China as a "gift," Hsieh said that the government has set no prerequisite on the issue.

Hsieh said that since both Taiwan and China are members of the WTO, he suggested that panda affairs be tackled according to international and WTO norms, adding that "the administration is taking the issue in its stride."

The panda story has been a hot topic in recent days as China's selection process is nearing the final stages, with Taipei and Taichung cities competing to play host to the furry guests.

Meanwhile, Council of Agriculture Chairman Lee Chin-lung (李金龍) said that since pandas are protected animals, the recipients must be academic or research institutes or publicly or privately run zoos, according to regulations in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

This means the delivery of the two pandas to Taiwan must be made together with export and import permits issued by CITES, Lee said.

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