Ex-President Lee clarifies critical stance on power plant
The China Post news staff
April 25, 2014, 12:00 am TWN
TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Former President Lee Teng-hui said on Facebook yesterday that the media had taken his remarks on Taiwan's nuclear policy out of context, stressing that he opposes firing up the uranium-fueled Fourth Nuclear Power Plant.
Local media quoted Lee as posing "three questions" on the debate of Taiwan's nuclear future in a speech he made in Tainan on Wednesday. According to reports, Lee questioned how many people agree with Lin Yi-hsiung (林義雄), the long-time anti-nuclear activist who is holding a hunger strike to oppose the construction on the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant, also known as Nuke 4. The former president reportedly also asked what alternate energy Taiwan could use and what the public would depend on if Taiwan is to do without nuclear power.
While the former president also expressed his worries about Lin's health, the apparently disparaging questions by Lee, who is revered by the pan-Green camp, concerning Lin, a former Democratic Progressive Party chairman, raised eyebrows. The Presidential Office soon picked up Lee's comment, adding that the president finds the train of thought in Lee's questions "very correct."
Lee clarified yesterday that the three questions he posed were meant to emphasize the fact that "the people are the masters of this nation, and if they have doubts over the safety of Nuke 4, the government should listen." He said that by raising the question of alternative energy, he was calling for the government to develop contingency measures such as the privatization of Taiwan Power Company and the increased use of bio-fuel and renewable energy.
While the former president did not express an outright rejection of nuclear energy, he said that he opposed the operation of Nuke 4, which will be fueled by what he described as "high risk, high pollution" uranium. "That should not be the only way of nuclear energy, (we) should consider studying the use of low-pollution thorium as (fuel) in nuclear power," he said.
In a pointed reference to the government's use of his "questions," Lee ended his Facebook post with the comment that "it will be a big disaster for a democracy when the leader cannot understand his people or is only cherry picking words he likes to hear."