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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Taiwan plans to sign nuclear safety pact with China

ROC Central News Agency

2011/05/11 20:26:38

By Lin Shu-yuan and Sofia Wu

Taipei, May 11 (CNA) Taiwan looks forward to signing a nuclear safety cooperation agreement with China at the seventh "Chiang-Chen meeting" across the Taiwan Strait, Atomic Energy Council (AEC) Minister Tsai Chuen-horng said Wednesday.

"Chiang-Chen meetings" refer to negotiations between Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation Chairman Chiang Pin-kung, and his Chinese counterpart, Chen Yunlin, president of the Beijing-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait.

Since 2008, six Chiang-Chen meetings have been held and more than a dozen of agreements have been signed on those occasions to pave the way for closer cross-strait exchanges and cooperation.

According to precedent, the next Chiang-Chen meeting should take place in the first half of this year, but Tsai told lawmakers at a Legislative Yuan hearing that the exact date has not yet been determined.

Tsai said the proposed nuclear safety accord will cover two categories -- regular exchanges of information to ensure the safety of nuclear power plants on each side, and fast provision of first-hand information and assistance in the event of a nuclear power plant emergency.

Lawmakers from Taiwan's ruling and opposition camps have voiced concerns about nuclear power safety in light of the fact that most of China's nuclear power plants are located along its southeastern coast opposite Taiwan, across the narrow Taiwan Strait.

Since the recent nuclear plant crisis in Japan, the issue of radiation disaster prevention has taken on greater urgency, with Taiwan and China moving to craft a mechanism for cross-strait nuclear emergency notification and cooperation.

During a recent forum between the ruling parties of Taiwan and China -- the Kuomintang and the Communist Party of China -- topics related to cross-strait cooperation on nuclear power safety were broached.

Tsai said the AEC and the Mainland Affairs Council are setting up a special joint task force to do the preparatory work on a nuclear safety cooperation pact.

"The task force will flesh out the details of the agreement and we hope it can be signed in the near future," he said.

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