Food safety won’t be compromised, and Okinotori dispute will be negotiated: Executive Yuan

  • Date: 2016-06-01
  • Source: Office of Information Services, Executive Yuan
<p>Spokesperson Tung Chen-yuan presides over a press conference on food safety.jpg</p>

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.