Taiwan's economic minister apologizes for 'plug into nose' comment about power shortage

Taiwan's economic affairs minister apologizes for sarcastically saying the only solution to the power shortage was to 'plug into the nose'

Shen (center) bows to apologize.

Shen (center) bows to apologize. (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- Taiwan's Minister of Economic Affairs Shen Jong-chin (沈榮津) at a press conference today apologized for sarcastically suggesting that "plugging into the nose" was the only remaining option to resolve the lack of politically palatable energy sources, reported CNA.

Yesterday, during a meeting of the Economic Committee in the Legislative Yuan, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmaker Lai Jui-lung (賴瑞隆) questioned the Kuomintang's (KMT) opposition to the use of coal, natural gas, and renewable energy to generate power, and then asked Shen, "If none of these are options, where will electricity come from?" In response, Shen quipped, "The only option left was to 'plug into the nostril'." The comment quickly drew criticism from the public.

Shen later clarified that this was a part of a report on the state of the industry, but at the time he had not provided enough background explanation, causing a misunderstanding. Shen explained that when he spoke to an executive in the industry who had to deal with opposition from various groups against coal-fired and natural gas-fired plants, and environmental issues raised by offshore wind power and solar power, such as Taiwanese humpback dolphins and wild bird habitats, out of frustration he said, "The only choice I have is to take the plug and shove it up my nose."

During today's press conference, Shen said he wished to apologize for anything he had stated during yesterday's meeting that caused the public to feel uncomfortable, he then stood up, and deeply bowed.