An abrupt deviation by the Taichung City Government from arrangements made with the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) demonstrated a lack of respect and could result in global mistrust of Taiwan, Executive Yuan Secretary-General Li Meng-yen (李孟諺) said yesterday.
The Taichung City Government on Wednesday allegedly did not confer with AIT Director Brent Christensen before turning a closed-door meeting into a public briefing — especially as it included a severe critique of US pork imports.
Taichung Mayor Lu Shiow-yen (盧秀燕) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) told Christensen in plain terms that she is opposed to the importation of US pork with traces of ractopamine.
Photo: Chang Hsuan-che, Taipei Times
The event sparked a response from the AIT, the first from the de facto US embassy since President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) first announced that Taiwan had approved the lessening of restrictions on US pork imports with traces of ractopamine.
AIT spokeswoman Amanda Mansour said in a statement that all US exports to Taiwan and other trade partners “are safe and meet the same high, evidence-based standards” as pork consumed in the US.
“When political figures propagate disinformation and raise unfounded anxiety among Taiwan consumers, it is a disservice to everyone. We call on all parties to approach this issue responsibly and on the basis of science,” she said.
“The United States and Taiwan are partners in safety and partners in security. We are confident that our robust trade relationship will continue to be an important and mutually beneficial part of that partnership,” she said.
Li told a news conference in Taipei that interaction between the two nations should be based on parity, reciprocity and mutual trust, instead of sowing distrust by ambushing others.
The US is an important friend of Taiwan, with both sides maintaining close cooperation in regional security and trade matters, he said, adding that the partnership has become even closer since Tsai took office.
The Executive Yuan is in dialogue with local governments and would continue to work out differences between local governments and the central government on the issue, Li said.
Separately yesterday, Lu restated her objection to the importation of US pork containing traces of ractopamine, as she joined Taichung City Council Deputy Speaker Yen Li-min (顏莉敏), Councilor Lee Jung-hung (李榮鴻) and representatives from the ROC Swine Association to make a declaration opposing the importation of US pork with traces of ractopamine.
The AIT’s commentary on the issue should be given due respect, but it was her duty to safeguard residents’ safety, Lu said.
There are evidently concerns regarding the pork, as the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health and Welfare have each issued bans against the use of such pork in schools and medical facilities, Lu said, adding that the bans would not have imposed if there was no concern over such products.
Additional reporting by Chang Hsuan-che
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