The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday called on the government to reverse course on the lifting of a ban on US pork imports containing residues of ractopamine, warning that its supporters would otherwise again take to the streets.
The opposition cannot make the decision, but it can put pressure on the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to respond to public opinion, KMT Chairman Johnny Chiang (江啟臣) said at the 126th anniversary celebration of the founding of the Revive China Society held in Taichung.
Chiang’s comments came after the KMT and its supporters on Sunday last week participated in a labor rights protest in Taipei, calling on the government to not allow imports of US pork containing residues of the animal feed additive.
Photo: Su Meng-chuan, Taipei Times
Tens of thousands of people marched on the street that day, Chiang said.
If the DPP insists on lifting the ban and does not listen to the public, those opposing the imports would “find ways to express their anger,” he said, adding that the KMT would respect expressions of public opinion.
Asked about KMT Youth League leader Chen Po-hsiung (陳柏翰) calling for restraint after KMT lawmakers on Friday threw pig offal at Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), Chiang said: “The KMT is an inclusive political party, and different opinions can be discussed.”
“The greatest consensus within the KMT is that we oppose the government and respect public opinion,” Chiang said.
Chiang last week also invited President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) to a televised debate on the issue.
In 2010, Tsai, then DPP chairperson, participated in a debate with then-president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) on the cross-strait Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement, Chiang said, adding that Tsai should once more come forward and debate the US pork issue, which is as much of concern to the public as the framework agreement.
Taiwanese consider their health national interest, he said.
In her announcement in August to lift the import ban from Jan. 1, Tsai said that the change in policy is “based on our national economic interests and consistent with our overall strategic goals for the future.”
Additional reporting by Su Meng-chuan
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