Joint pledge on nuclear safety

PUBLISHED : Friday, 21 October, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 21 October, 2011, 12:00am


The mainland and Taiwan agreed yesterday to co-operate more closely on nuclear safety and preparedness for disaster in the wake of the meltdowns at a Japanese power plant in March.

But top negotiators from both sides, meeting in Tianjin, failed to sign an investment protection pact. Negotiations on the pact would top the agenda at the next rounds of talks, they said.

Officials from both sides started discussing a nuclear safety co-operation deal in response to the magnitude-9.0 earthquake in Japan on March 11. A tsunami crippled the cooling system at the Fukushima nuclear plant 250 kilometres north of Tokyo causing explosions and radiation leaks.

Under the agreement, energy officials from the mainland and Taiwan will notify each other in the event of an emergency and work together to minimise damage.

They will share experience and information on nuclear safety monitoring, analysing data, managing nuclear plants, radiation detection and the handling of emergencies.

Each party will organise their own nuclear safety work teams, however. The teams will meet to share information and discuss other exchange programmes.

'Nuclear power safety is significant to people's lives on both sides of the Taiwan Strait and to the environment we all share,' said Chen Yunlin, president of the mainland's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait.

Zheng Lizhong, deputy head of the association, said the deal would make residents on both sides of the strait more confident about nuclear energy.

'It protects the safety and lives of residents,' he said.

Meanwhile, Chen and Chiang Pin-kung, chairman of Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation, said that a consensus had been reached on the complex investment protection pact.

Both sides agreed that the pact should have clauses stipulating: the removal of investment restrictions, compensation and dispute-handling mechanisms, protection of personal safety and the enhancement of investment transparency.

They agreed to continue discussing the dispute-handling mechanism, and to establish a platform for strengthening investment services.

The agreement should take into account the 'distinctiveness' of both sides of the strait. It should also respond to investors' concerns and address feasibility issues, the negotiators said.

'We need to ensure that there will be a mechanism that can effectively tackle disputes. We will continue discussions on that,' Ling Chia-yuh, an investment official from the Straits Exchange Foundation, said after the talks.

Taiwan has become one of the major investors on the mainland in recent years.

The two sides agreed to organise regular industry forums to promote co-operation. Industries, including those involved in light-emitting diodes and electric cars, would be the priority for industrial co-operation, a statement issued after the talks said. The two sides also agreed to jointly promote the development of small and medium-sized enterprises to create job opportunities.