DOH delegation to leave on China visit tomorrow

By Ko Shu-Ling
STAFF REPORTER
Friday, Sep 26, 2008, Page 1

 

Source of Article:http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2008/09/26/2003424311

Taiwan will dispatch a delegation of experts to China tomorrow to better understand Chinaís tainted milk powder scandal, senior officials said yesterday.

Premier Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄) announced on the legislative floor on Tuesday that the Executive Yuan had requested the Department of Health form a group of experts to visit China to probe the matter.

MAC Vice Chairman Liu Teh-hsun (
劉德勳) told a press conference that Beijing informed the council by telephone around noon yesterday that it would allow the visit.

Before the council received the notice in writing, however the MAC would not finalize details of the trip such as how many people would be on the team, who they would be, where they would go, who they would meet and what they would talk about.

Liu, however, said that the delegation would be led by the quasi-official Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) and that its purpose was not to visit the milk firms in question but to learn more about the products containing animal or vegetable protein and the countries importing them.

With the council adding food safety to the agenda of the second round of negotiations between SEF and its Chinese counterpart, the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS), Liu Teh-hsun said the upcoming talks, scheduled for late next month or early November, would lay the groundwork for long-term management of food safety.

SEF Secretary-General Kao Kong-lian (
高孔廉) yesterday said he and ARATS Deputy Secretary-General Li Yafei (李亞飛) had agreed that tomorrow would be a good time for the delegation to go.

At a separate setting yesterday, President Ma Ying-jeou (
馬英九) promised to safeguard the nationís food safety and examine existing mechanisms, saying it was the responsibility of the government to address public apprehensions.

Globalization has its advantages and disadvantages but the government was duty bound to ensure food safety, he said.

The tainted milk powder incident only reflected the necessity of reviewing food inspections and the importance of establishing safety procedures with other countries, he said.

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