Taiwan Communiqué No. 78, December 1997


Environmental report

Taiwanese protest U.S.-China nuclear deal

{short description of image}

Plenty of nuclear monuments in Taiwan

Thousands of Taiwanese marched through the streets of Taipei on Sunday, 26 October 1997, to voice their opposition to a planned nuclear station in Taiwan, and to the U.S.-China deal that will allow U.S. nuclear reactor sales to Beijing.

The protest coincided with the visit to the United States by Chinaµs President Jiang Zemin. According to news reports, Washington and Beijing signed an agreement that would allow U.S. nuclear reactor sales to China.

·As the White House prepares to roll out the red carpet to welcome the Chinese leaders...to sell nuclear reactors and technology to China, we would like to call for the support of the international community to establish a nuclear-free Asia, the organizers said in a statement. "We want to warn the two superpowers - China and the United States - that the Taiwan peopleµs interests cannot be sacrificed and the Asian people's anti-nuclear determination cannot be challenged," the statement said.

They chanted anti-nuclear cheers in front of the American Institute in Taiwan - Washington's unofficial representative office in the absence of formal diplomatic relations with the Kuomintang authorities.

Wearing yellow headbands that read "Reject the nuclear power plant to save Taiwan," the activists also protested at the Taiwan government's plan to build a controversial nuclear power station. The Kuomintang authorities approved plans to build the US$4.1 billion, 2,700-megawatt nuclear power plant, Taiwan's fourth, in 1994 after six years of delays and protests following the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster in the Soviet Union.

State-run Taipower produces 21,900 megawatts of power annually, about 23.5 percent of which is generated by three nuclear power plants. Total output must rise to 36,000 megawatts by 2002 if power consumption is to keep pace with Taiwan's economic growth, officials have said.

However, environmental organizations argue that the authorities have done very little to promote energy conservation or alternative energy sources. They say that a natural gas or clean-coal power plant could be built at a fraction of the time or cost (see Alternatives to Fourth Nuclear Plant Proposed, Taiwan Communiqué no 60, pp. 19-21).


Saving the Black-faced Spoonbill from extinction

{short description of image}

Along the Tsengwen River in the coastal areas of southern Taiwan, one of the rarest birds in the world, the Black-faced Spoonbill, spends its winter in the Tsengwen wetlands. During the stay, the Black-faced Spoonbill feed and prepare for migration in the spring. Although more than half of the remaining 650 birds winter in the Tsengwen wetlands, the Kuomintang authorities have approved plans for an industrial complex that will consume almost half of the Black-faced Spoonbill's wintering habitat. This action will send the black-faced spoonbill into an extinction vortex as well as undermine the historic and thriving fishing and aquaculture industries which generate annual revenues of 3.2 million dollars.

The Spoonbill Action Voluntary Echo (SAVE) is a voluntary organization dedicated to an international plan to rescue the potential extinction of the black-faced spoonbill in southern coastal Taiwan. The main goal of this organization is to stop the governmentµs approval of the plan for an industrial complex. Reknowned conservationist, David Brower, has agreed to Chair the committee.

Over the past year, Professors Randy Hester and Marcia McNally from the University of California at Berkeley, and Professor John Liu from National Taiwan University, leading two groups respectively from the U.S. and Taiwan, have been working together to raise awareness of the serious potential impacts of this industrial complex among the Taiwanese people and the national government.

The effort seeks to promote an alternative plan for sustainable economic development proposed by students at the University of California at Berkeley and National Taiwan University (Sustainable Economic Development Plan for Tainan County Coastal Area, Department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning, University of California at Berkeley, May 1997.)

More information can be obtained from SAVE's website:

http://www4.ced.berkeley.edu:8004/student_org/save/

or at its mailing address: Department of Landscape Architecture, 202 Wurster Hall, Berkeley, CA, 94720. Coordinator: Matthew Smeltzer phone: 510.528.8283, fax: 510.549.9431 and email: msmeltze@ced.berkeley.edu


Report from Washington

Pro-Taiwan legislation passes House

In a strong rebuke of Mr. Clinton's "carrots only" policy toward China, the U.S. House of Representatives in the beginning of November 1997 passed a package of nine bills. Most of these dealt with a variety of issues regarding China, such as human rights and China's arms exports to Iran, but two focused specifically on Taiwan:

{short description of image}

Congressman Peter Deutsch

  1. House Resolution 190, introduced by Congressman Christopher Cox (R-CA), which calls for Taiwan's entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO) on its own merits, i.e. no political linkage with China's admission, and

  2. House Resolution 2386, introduced by Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-CA), which calls for US assistance to Taiwan to defend itself against further Chinese missile attacks. The Bill was passed by an overwhelming majority of 301 to 116 votes.

An important part of the Bill was drafted by Congressman Peter Deutsch (D-FL), who introduced text to the effect that the future of Taiwan should be determined by peaceful means through a democratic process by the people in Taiwan themselves. The Bill also states that the United States should assist in the defense of Taiwan in case of threats or military attack by China against Taiwan.

The Bill directs the Secretary of Defense to study and report to Congress on the architecture requirements for the establishment and operation of a theater ballistic missile defense system in the Asia-Pacific region capable of protecting Taiwan from ballistic missile attacks, and cooperative US measures which would provide Taiwan with an advanced local-area ballistic missile defense system.

The Bill expresses the sense of the Congress that the President, upon the request of the Taiwan Government, and in accordance with such study results, should transfer to the Taiwan Government defense articles or services under the foreign military sales program of the Arms Export Control Act for the purpose of establishing and operating a local-area ballistic missile defense system to protect Taiwan and specified islands against limited ballistic missile attacks.

It also declares that it is in the U.S. national interest that Taiwan be included in any effort at ballistic missile defense cooperation, networking, or interoperability with friendly and allied nations in the Asia-Pacific region.

Finally, it expresses the sense of the Congress that the Clinton Administration should make clear to the People's Republic of China the firm commitment of the American people for security and democracy for the people of Taiwan, and that the United States fully expects the peaceful resolution of security issues on both sides of the Taiwan Strait.


Back to: Table of Contents

Copyright © 1997 Taiwan Communiqué