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July 22, 2017

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Ma, Su discuss Nuke 4 in frenzied TV debate

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- A televised meeting between President Ma Ying-jeou and opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Su Tseng-chang on yesterday was reduced to a shouting match as the two politicians failed to agree on almost anything concerning the fate of Taiwan's Fourth Nuclear Power Plant.

Broadcast live and unmediated, the 85-minute meeting provided the Taiwanese public with a rare opportunity to see the nation's top political leaders engage in face-to-face talks for an occasion other than a presidential election debate. People who tuned in at 10 a.m. yesterday, however, mainly witnessed the two heckling each other, interrupting each other mid-sentence and pointing fingers at each other both literally and figuratively.

Words like "you are doing this again" and "I knew you would say this" were also thrown around in the meeting.

The only point the two agree upon is that Taiwan will decide in a referendum the future of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant, which has been under construction since 1999 and comes with a price tag of NT$283 billion. The president and the DPP leader, however, disagreed even on the definition of the power plant's current status.

Su insisted that the government should halt the construction of the plant and hold the referendum immediately, but the president stated repeatedly that the plant has mostly passed the construction phase and is currently undergoing safety inspections, which he stressed should be finished before a referendum.

Su criticized the government's stance as time and money-squandering, saying "if we are going to have a referendum sooner or later, why don't we have one now?" It is irresponsible to delay the referendum even as the construction expenses pile up, he said.

In response, Ma emphasized again that the power plant is undergoing safety inspections and no extra budget is allotted for the tests.

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