Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-04-24 05:18 PM
Former DPP chairman Lin Yi-hsiung began a hunger strike Tuesday in protest of nuclear power on the island, and several key political figures are huddling to discuss options for getting past the hurdles that have stood in the way of progress on the issue.
New Taipei City Mayor Eric Chu met with his Taipei City counterpart Hau Lung-bin earlier this week. Hau emerged from the meeting and told reporters that he felt that matters such as a referendum on nuclear power should be left up to the Legislative Yuan. Hau stressed that he would respect the decisions of lawmakers on the subject, emphasizing that referendum thresholds and other relevant details should be a collective decision made by members of the Legislative Yuan. Whatever the result might be, said Hau, he respects the combined wisdom of the legislators and would honor their decision on whether the threshold should be lowered,
Chu followed up his meeting with Hau by discussing the matter with DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang.on Wednesday. Su said afterwards that nuclear power plants have been a highly controversial issue for more than three decades and suggested that holding a referendum on whether or not to continue construction on the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant is a better option than taking to the streets. He added that the Referendum Law is long past due for amendments to ensure that the thresholds used in carrying out referenda can be properly fixed.
Su and Chu agreed in their discussion that it is essential to reach a consensus as quickly as possible on the referendum dispute, Chu advocated keeping a threshold in place while making revisions in the Referendum Law, reminding everyone that the President’s Office and the Executive Yuan believe that whether or not to continue construction on the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant is a major policy issue that is of critical importance to all of the people and should thus be decided through a referendum held under the rules of the Referendum Law
Chu told reporters that he had suggested during his meeting with Su Tseng-chang that Su and President Ma Ying-jeou and Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng all meet to initiate a dialogue in place of confrontation between the ruling and opposition camps. Chu stressed that he has no objections to a referendum so long as it carries the necessary thresholds and expressed his confidence that the various parties involved can find a reasonable solution to the nuclear power plant issue.
After receiving the invitation from the Presidential Office for discussions with Su Tseng-chang, DPP spokesman Xavier Chang said Thursday that aides of the two party leaders are studying the details for such a meeting. He said both Ma and Su will be looking for very specific and effective ways to resolve the current situation through pragmatic and detailed discussions of the issue.
Chang echoed Eric Chu’s statement that the nuclear power issue has long been a controversy in Taiwan, adding that Lin Yi-hsiung’s decision to launch a hunger strike in protest has added to the urgency of the situation. He said the government owes it to Lin and to the people to initiate a dialogue as quickly as possible to discuss possible solutions.
As for whether Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng should also participate in such talks, Chang said that nuclear power is an extremely urgent problem and the DPP is willing to explore all the possibilities for dialogue. He stressed that the party has only one purpose, which is to resolve this problem and let Taiwan's society resume its forward progress.
Chang told reporters that the DPP believes that by the year 2025, 20% of Taiwan's total power generation will come from green energy sources. Doing so will create up to 200,000 green energy jobs, he claimed. Chang said once the DPP’s energy policy is in place, Taiwan will have hope for a nuclear-free homeland in the future, and one way to start moving in that direction is by scheduling a referendum which will resolve the controversy over construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant,