Pork and Fukushima food products involve food safety, and the new administration’s attitude on food safety is very clear—it cannot and will not be compromised, and the administration will strictly enforce relevant measures, Executive Yuan Spokesperson Tung Chen-yuan stated at a press conference today. As for the dispute over fishing rights in the waters near Okinotori, diplomatic negotiation is the best way to resolve the controversy, Tung said.
Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Lee Chen-jan, Minister of Health and Welfare Lin Tzou-yien and Deputy Minister Chen Chi-chung of the Council of Agriculture (COA) joined Tung at the press conference, which was held at the Executive Yuan.
Regarding U.S. pork imports, Tung stated that joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership is the consensus of the nation as well as both the ruling and opposition parties, and it is also the goal of this administration. The government will discuss the U.S. pork issue on the premise of ensuring food safety as well as the rights and interests of pig farmers.
COA Deputy Minister Chen pointed out that prior to conducting risk assessments that are based on scientific evidence, the nation opposes domestic as well as imported pork containing ractopamine, and it will not discuss whether to open up to U.S. pork. The administration’s objective is to safeguard consumers’ rights.
As for food products from Fukushima, Minister Lin stated that under the premise of safeguarding citizens’ health and in accordance with international regulations, the Ministry of Health and Welfare will adopt scientific evidence as the basis for managing food safety. At present there is neither a plan nor a timetable to relax import restrictions on food products from Fukushima, the minister stated.
There is no question of Japan’s sovereignty over Okinotori, Tung said. The point is not whether the ROC acknowledges Okinotori as an island or a reef, but rather the status assigned to the surrounding waters by international law. This is beyond the nation’s reckoning, and a unilateral announcement would not ensure the rights and interests of Taiwanese fishermen. The Okinotori dispute concerns fishery rights, and the best means to resolve this issue and safeguard Taiwanese fishermen’s rights and interests is via diplomatic negotiations rather than unilateral statements that might trigger continued confrontations.
Vice Minister Lee of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated the ROC has always advocated that the parties involved in maritime disputes should seek resolution through peaceful means in accordance with international law. Prior to any judgment on the legal status of the waters surrounding Okinotori, Japan should respect Taiwan and other countries’ fishery rights and freedom of navigation in the area. The government’s position on safeguarding the rights of Taiwanese fishermen will not change.
This coming July, the ROC and Japan will launch a dialogue mechanism for bilateral maritime economic affairs cooperation, Lee said. It is expected these problems will be peacefully resolved via diplomatic negotiations and the rights and interests of Taiwanese fishermen safeguarded.