Saying he has taken public concerns over the safety of the controversial Fourth Nuclear Power Plant to heart, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday promised his administration would listen to and communicate with people from all sectors of society before making a decision on the issue.
“Civic groups, women’s groups and the Alliance for Mothers to Oversee Nuclear Power Plants have all voiced their concern. We all live on the same island and face the same challenges. We will be very cautious in establishing public facilities,” Ma told Cabinet members.
In an apparent response to a call made by Fubon Cultural and Educational Foundation board director Irene Chen (陳藹玲) that the government should seek to learn more about the nuclear energy beyond official briefings, Ma said his administration “will definitely take into account all their opinions.”
Since 1992, when the first budget for the construction of the Forth Nuclear Power Plant cleared the legislature, the facility has been continuously under construction, regardless of which political party was in power, Ma said.
“Now we need to reflect on what to do [with the plant], how other countries in a similar situation dealt with the issue, what the status of the nation’s energy demand would be in the future and whether we can afford higher energy prices if we changed our energy sources. All these are questions that we need to think over,” he said.
Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) said that since the Cabinet was just formed a week ago, it would not make a decision on the issue now, but that it would be a priority for discussion in the new legislative session, he added.
“I hope it would be a joint decision by everyone following a public discourse, in which everyone exchanges in-depth views on the issue instead of digging in with their pro-nuclear or anti-nuclear stance,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) demanded that Ma suspend the plant’s construction and its additional budget allocation immediately, as well as pass a bill promoting a nuclear-free homeland.
Speaking in Gongliao (貢寮), New Taipei City (新北市), where the power plant is located, DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said continuation of the construction would be “a wrong policy of immeasurable cost for Taiwanese society” and that the DPP would “fearlessly engage in the anti-nuclear movement.”
Su, more than 100 staffers from DPP headquarters and dozens of local anti-nuclear activists gathered in Gongliao yesterday for a traditional “spring banquet,” as well as to highlight their commitment to make Taiwan a nuclear-free country.
Four of the 14 most dangerous nuclear reactors in the high-hazard areas of earthquake-prone regions are in Taiwan, Su said, citing a Wall Street Journal report, which was published on March 19, 2011, after the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant incident in Japan.
“It’s pretty obvious that [construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant] is not a path we should keeping on taking. Ma should not be ambiguous on his position and should act now,” he said.
Su said that promoting a nuclear-free homeland has always been one of the DPP’s core values since its founding in 1986, when the anti-nuclear movement was just beginning and could scare away voters in elections.
Former premier Yu Shyi-kun said Ma and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) had been “irresponsible and immoral” with their accusations that Su and former DPP chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) supported the construction and allocation of additional budget for the power plant, which has cost more than NT$300 billion (US$10.1 billion), when they served as premier and vice premier respectively.
The former DPP administration did not want to allocate funding for the project at the time, but was forced to do so because the KMT held a majority in the legislature, he said.
NO FREE LUNCH: Taiwanese joining the trips to China met TAO and United Front Work officials who urged them to vote for candidates who support closer ties with Beijing The Ciaotou Prosecutors’ Office in Kaohsiung yesterday released two suspects on bail who have been accused of recruiting Taiwanese to join tours to China funded by Beijing and in which they were urged to vote for pan-blue candidates in January’s presidential and legislative elections. The pan-blue camp generally refers to the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), the People First Party, the New Party and the Young China Party, which support closer relations with China. Prosecutors said that a man, surnamed Cheng (鄭), and a woman, surnamed Yeh (葉), who are members of the China Pan-Blue Association, recruited Taiwanese tourists to join tours arranged
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus yesterday slammed a proposal by New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜), the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) presidential candidate, to permit a “significant number” of Chinese students to study and work in Taiwan, saying it would be detrimental to young Taiwanese. At an event on Monday hosted by nine major industrial and business groups, Hou said that if elected, he would reinitiate cross-strait dialogue on the premise that Taiwan’s dignity would not be compromised and that the talks would be held in good faith. The talks would include lifting a ban on Chinese tour groups and
PEACE AND STABILITY: ‘Taiwan can be of tremendous value’ in building resilient supply chains, President Tsai Ing-wen said, as she encouraged closer ties with foreign businesses A Chinese invasion of Taiwan is unlikely for the time being due to the internal challenges and international pressure that China is facing, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) told the New York Times in an interview shown on Wednesday. “My thought is that perhaps this is not a time for them [China] to consider a major invasion of Taiwan,” Tsai said in a prerecorded interview for the DealBook Summit held by the newspaper on Wednesday. Beijing’s leadership is presently “overwhelmed by its internal challenges” on economic, financial and political grounds, while the international community “has made it loud and clear that war is
COUNTER DISINFORMATION: More engagement and media literacy are needed to push back against misinformation and claims that the US is an unreliable partner, the AIT director said The US is “confident” that Taiwan does not face an imminent threat of a Chinese invasion, American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Director Sandra Oudkirk told a US public radio show, adding that Washington remains committed to defensively arming the nation. She made the comment during an interview on All Things Considered, broadcast on Friday on US-based National Public Radio. “There is an important distinction between making plans and training troops, and getting ready to do something,” Oudkirk said, on whether she thinks Beijing plans to attack Taiwan in the near future. Chinese officials have told Washington that “their preference is for peaceful reunification,