Thu, Mar 31, 2011 - Page 3 News List

SEF cleared to discuss nuclear safety

CROSS-STRAIT ISSUES:As the ongoing nuclear drama in Japan holds the world’s attention, Taiwan and China are preparing to talk about the safety of the industry

By Ko Shu-ling  /  Staff Reporter

Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Minister Lai Shin-yuan (賴幸媛) yesterday said the council has authorized the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) to negotiate with China on nuclear safety.

If both sides come to an agreement, the issue would be placed on the agenda of the next high-level cross-strait talks between SEF Chairman Chiang Pin-kung (江丙坤) and his Chinese counterpart, Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS) Chairman Chen Yunlin (陳雲林), this year, she said.

“We will do our best to put the issue of nuclear safety on the agenda of the upcoming Chiang-Chen meeting,” she told the legislature’s Judiciary and Organic Laws and Statutes Committee. “China’s Taiwan Affairs Office [TAO] has responded positively to our proposal.”

TAO spokeswoman Fan Liqing (范麗青) said yesterday in Beijing that China attached great importance to nuclear safety, which she said concerned the wellbeing of people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait.

Exchange channels for nuclear safety and technology have been smooth, she said, adding that the two sides could propose ideas or “discuss and communicate” with each other if they think it is necessary.

During the upcoming Chiang-Chen meeting, the two sides have agreed to negotiate two issues on the protection of investment and dispute settlement. If all goes well, they hope to sign agreements on these two areas, she said.

In the aftermath of Japan’s magnitude 9.0 earthquake and tsunami on March 11, which sparked a radiation leak at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said on Tuesday that nuclear safety would become an important issue in future cross-strait negotiations after he expressed the hope last week that Taipei and Beijing could cooperate in this area.

Lai yesterday said that the Ma administration would take a pro-active approach to achieve these goals, given the importance and urgency of nuclear safety across the Taiwan Strait.

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