China, Taiwan Reach Agreement on Nuclear Safety

In the wake of the March earthquake, tsunami and subsequent nuclear scare in Fukushima, China and Taiwan signed a nuclear power safety agreement on Thursday to establish a framework for cross-Strait transparency and cooperation. The People’s Daily reports:

The agreement establishes a mechanism allowing both the mainland and Taiwan to establish nuclear safety teams that will meet each other within two months after the agreement takes effect. Both sides will establish work groups to discuss detailed issues concerning the sharing of information and exchange programs. 

“The agreement will give more confidence to the people on both sides of the Taiwan Straits on the safe operation of nuclear power plants,” Zheng Lizhong, ARATS executive vice-president, said at a news conference after the signing ceremony. 

David Yao, director of the department of planning at Taiwan’s atomic energy council, told reporters that the agreement is needed because radiation leaks could be a cross-Straits concern. 

Xia Yihua, a radiation expert at the China Institute of Atomic Energy, praised the agreement, saying cooperation to exchange information on nuclear safety should not be hindered by political obstacles across the Straits. 

The agreement highlights the seventh round of talks in three years between Mainland and Taiwan envoys, during which they also discussed investment protection and industrial cooperation. From The China Post:

The negotiators had been expected to ink a broad and complex investment protection agreement in the current round of talks, but the sides failed to resolve long-standing differences on certain provisions.

The latest session did produce some consensus. The SEF and ARATS agreed to gradually cut limits on cross-strait investments. They set definitions and parameters of investment protection, as well as a shared agenda concerning personal safety protection. They also agreed to continue their dialogue regarding the settlement of disputes between government and individual, and to push for a pact in later negotiation rounds, according to a joint press release.

On another front, Chen and Chiang established five key areas to be covered in a future industrial cooperation agreement: the panel industry, low-temperature logistics, electric cars, wireless cities, and LED display.

See also previous CDT coverage of cross-Strait relations, the development of China’s nuclear power industry, and recent revelations by a high-ranking PLA General that China’s former nuclear power chief was a spy.

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