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Ma has not ruled out possibility of visiting Lin Yi-hsiung: groups

TAIPEI -- President Ma Ying-jeou might visit Lin Yi-hsiung, a former chairman of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) who began a hunger strike Tuesday to press the government to scrap the nearly completed fourth nuclear power plant project, environmental protection groups said that day.

Ma was quoted by Ho Tsung-hsun, executive director of the Life Conservationist Association, as saying that he is “not ruling out the possibility” of visiting Lin.

The environmental groups met with Ma to reiterate their doubts about the safety of the fourth nuclear power plant.

Ma told them that after the fourth nuclear power plant has passed safety examinations, there will be the question of whether a referendum will be held on the fate of the plant.

Meanwhile, participants in a ruling Kuomintang Central Standing Committee meeting cited Ma as saying that he has asked Premier Jiang Yi-huah to convey concerns to Lin on his behalf, but that rational examination of public policy is still needed. Lin, who has long opposed nuclear power and has been pushing for Taiwan to be nuclear-free, urged his fellow countrymen to press the government to stop work on the plant.

The DPP and other pro-independence groups have responded to his appeal and have vowed to back his request.

Nuclear power currently accounts for about 20 percent of Taiwan's electricity production.

The fourth nuclear power plant is expected to make up some of the shortfall in power generation when the country's three operating nuclear power plants are decommissioned between 2018 and 2025.

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