Wed, Feb 06, 2019 - Page 2 News List

Su urges China to be transparent on virus spread

By Stacy Hsu Staff reporter

A billboard informing passengers bringing plants or meat products to declare them to customs offices to avoid breaking the law is pictured at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport on Saturday.

Photo: CNA

Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) yesterday released a video on preventing an outbreak of African swine fever, while urging China to be a good neighbor.

“We urge the Chinese government to step up its disease prevention efforts and update us on the latest developments,” Su said in the video posted on Facebook, while holding a Winnie the Pooh toy.

The cartoon character, which has become a popular way of mocking Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平), has been banned in China.

“Neighbors should be helping each other, not harming each other,” Su said.

While the African swine fever virus does not affect humans, Su urged the public to contact the authorities at 0800-039-131 if they see dead hogs, so as to protect Taiwan’s NT$200 billion (US$6.5 billion) hog industry.

The video’s release came days after China’s Taiwan Affairs Office spokesman Ma Xiaoguang (馬曉光) accused the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration of “politicizing” the African swine fever outbreak in China in an attempt to drive a wedge between people on either side of the Taiwan Strait.

Ma said that since the virus was first detected inside its borders in August last year, Beijing had published information on the disease in a “swift, open and transparent” manner.

Taiwan has accused China of withholding information on the outbreak.

China’s Cross-Strait Agricultural Exchange Association eventually responded to Taiwan’s request for information for the first time on Saturday by sending a fax to Taiwan’s Rural Development Foundation, saying that 25 Chinese provinces had reported swine fever cases, with 950,000 pigs culled as of Friday last week.

The outbreak has eased with a 76 percent drop in the number of new cases last month, it added.

However, the Taiwanese Council of Agriculture said the severity of the outbreak is expected to be far greater than what the association described.

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