No contaminated food will be allowed into Taiwan: security official

National Security Council (NSC) Secretary General Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) said Thursday that Taiwan will not permit the importation of any radiation-contaminated food.

During a briefing of legislators on the NSC’s work and its budget for 2017, Wu was asked whether he could guarantee that contaminated food would not enter Taiwan if the government lifted its ban on food imports from radiation-affected areas of Japan.

In response, Wu said Taiwan would apply international standards to determine whether food imports were contaminated.

“I can assure you that no contaminated foods will be allowed into Taiwan,” he said. “I’ve asked the relevant government agencies (about this issue) and they’ve all assured me that they’re capable of handling the matter.”

Kuomintang lawmaker Chang Li-shan (張麗善) also asked for Wu’s opinion on a comment Tuesday by Mitsuo Ohashi, chairman of the Japan Interchange Association, that Taiwan’s concerns about food from radiation-affected areas of Japan were “unfounded,” and that the import ban had hurt the feelings of the Japanese people.

According to Chang, Ohashi’s remarks, made at a recent trade and economics meeting in Taipei between the two countries, indicated that “Japan was blind to the existence of Taiwan” — to the point of “belittling Taiwanese.”

In response, Wu said he was not sure he could agree that the Japanese were blind to Taiwan’s existence.

He said the Japanese delegation to the meeting tried to raise the food import issue but Taiwan did not engage in negotiations with them on that matter.

“I can assure our honorable legislators that we’ve been guarding the gate when it comes to food safety,” Wu said in his briefing of the legislative Judiciary and Organic Laws and Statues Committee.

He said the government is “100 percent confident” of ensuring food safety for local consumers.

Turning to the issue of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade bloc, Chang also asked Wu how Taiwan would cope if the United States withdraws, as U.S. President-elect Donald Trump has indicated will happen.

Wu said that if Japan decides to keep the TPP alive, it will go ahead without the U.S., but with reduced economic effect, therefore, Taiwan should look at other regional trade blocs.

During the committee meeting Chang also said the NSC had incorrectly forecast the winner of the U.S. presidential election, which had caused the Tsai Ing-wen administration to “make a wrong bet on the election result.”

But Wu said that “there is no such thing as making a wrong bet.”

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel

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