Nuclear security on the table for cross-Straits talks

Updated: 2011-10-20 07:23

By Tan Zongyang (China Daily)

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TIANJIN - Two organizations representing Taiwan and the mainland are expected to sign a cross-Straits nuclear power security cooperation agreement at the new round of talks on Thursday.

"Nuclear power safety is related to the health of everyone's lives on both sides of the Taiwan Straits and concerns the ecological environment that we share," said Chen Yunlin, president of the Beijing-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS).

The group will meet a delegation headed by the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) Chairman Chiang Pin-kung, who arrived in Tianjin on Wednesday.

Chen said the agreement will try to establish an emergency notification system, promote the cooperation of nuclear authorities of both sides and increase the exchange of experience on how to better regulate the industry.

However, Chen said the two sides may fail to ink a long-awaited agreement on cross-Straits investment, which aims to safeguard the private investment and ensure business people's personal safety.

"It will take a little while to discuss the agreement in detail, and we expect to sign the deal on our next round of talks," Chen told reporters at a news briefing.

ARATS and SEF, the two semi-official organizations responsible for dealing with cross-Straits relations, resumed talks in June 2008.

At Wednesday's welcoming ceremony, Chiang said the previous six rounds of talks have generated good results and the upcoming talks will continue to increase mutual trust.

"Signing these agreements is similar to building arterial roads for the flow of capital and goods across the Straits," he said, adding that the two delegations will also inspect the implementation of previous deals during the meeting.

Wang Hailiang, a researcher with the Taiwan Studies Center at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, said the expected nuclear power security cooperation agreement comes at the right time.

Wang said there are growing concerns over nuclear safety after Japan's earthquake in March that crippled the Fukushima nuclear plant, which caused a potential nuclear meltdown crisis.

"Cooperation is very much needed as nuclear plants are seen on both the mainland and Taiwan," Wang said.

The agreement on investment is more difficult to reach and could be delayed as the island still fears a large capital inflow from the mainland and a lack of experience and regulations to manage mainland business people, according to Wang.

On Friday, the SEF delegates will also meet representatives of Taiwan business people who have investments in Tianjin.