Chinese mainland, Taiwan sign agreement on nuclear power safety cooperation

TIANJIN/TAIPEI, Oct. 20 (Xinhua) -- Chinese mainland and Taiwan negotiators on Thursday afternoon signed an agreement on cross-Strait cooperation on nuclear power safety.

According to the agreement, the two sides will cooperate and hold exchanges concerning regulations and standards for nuclear power safety, analysis and evaluation of experiences, basic information on nuclear power plants, management of outdated power stations, emergency reporting, radiation monitoring around nuclear power plants, and information transparency.

The agreement was signed by the mainland's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) and the Taiwan-based Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF).

The mainland and Taiwan should each organize their own nuclear power safety work teams and launch their first meeting within two months after the agreement takes effect to discuss detailed issues covering information sharing and various exchange programs, said the document.

The agreement is expected to boost cross-Strait cooperation in the monitoring of nuclear power safety and pave the way for an information reporting system between the two sides to ensure the health of the environment and residents of both sides.

Wang Jianmin, research fellow of the Institute of Taiwan Studies under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said that the problem of how to strengthen cooperation on nuclear power safety across the Taiwan Strait is a common concern of the people on both sides after Japan's nuclear power plant disaster triggered by the strong earthquake in March.

"With the mutual efforts made by both sides of the Taiwan Strait, the ARATS and SEF signed the agreement quite quickly. It fully reflects that the institutionalized negotiations between the ARATS and SEF are efficient," said Wang.

Ouyang Min-shen, chairman of the Taiwan nuclear technology alliance, said that "the agreement is important, as it starts the formal cooperation and exchanges across the Taiwan Strait on nuclear power safety."

The establishment of information reporting system on nuclear power safety will reassure people on both sides of the Strait, and more exchanges across the Strait can be expected in the future on nuclear power safety, he said.

"It is a piece of great news. We support it," said Lin Xiao'en, a Taiwan compatriot living in Shanghai, adding that the safety of the living environment is very important for the people on both sides of the Strait. In case of emergencies, Taiwan and the mainland can help each other and overcome difficulties together.

Yan Anlin, a Taiwan studies expert with Shanghai Institutes for International Studies, said that it only took about half a year from proposing to signing the agreement on cross-Strait cooperation on nuclear power safety.

"The agreement explicitly promotes the principle of 'safety is the top priority' and will benefit the interests of the people on both sides of the Strait," said Yan.

Zhu Weidong, deputy director of the Institute of Taiwan Studies under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said that the signing of the deal shows that cross-Strait relations are developing in a stable way.

"The endorsement of the agreement tells us the institutionalized negotiations between ARATS and SEF is a correct and effective model. We should treasure this platform and solve more issues by using it," said Zhu.

Chinese mainland and Taiwan negotiators also issued a joint statement on the negotiation of a cross-Strait investment protection agreement and reached a consensus on measures to boost cross-Strait industrial cooperation during their seventh round of talks since June 2008.


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