10 May 2002

Taiwan government denies any waste deal with Solomon Islands

7:56 am on 10 May 2002

The Taiwanese foreign ministry has denied claims that a Taiwanese company has won permission to store toxic industrial waste in Solomon Islands.

The ministry adds that the company Primeval Forests which was reported to be seeking a license to dump the waste ceased trading in February.

The company had been reported to be planning to dump millions of tonnes of toxic waste in Makira province for an upfront payment of 200 million US dollars.

A foreign ministry spokesperson says Taiwan has the technology to handle toxic wastes and the government would never allow it to be dumped in overseas countries.

Meanwhile, the foreign ministry also says Taiwan's Central News Agency misquoted the economic minister when it reported that negotiations were under way with four countries, including Solomon Islands, to accept nuclear waste.

A ministry spokesperson described the report as erroneous and unfounded.

But a report in the Taipei Times quotes the economics minister as telling a news conference that Solomon Islands has been contacted along with China, Russia and North Korea.

The Central News Agency quotes the producer of the nuclear waste, Taipower, as saying it had no contact with Solomon Islands.

It says Taipower has discussed the issue with four countries, including the Marshall Islands, which is also covered by the Waigani Convention banning the importation of nuclear waste.

Taipower did not say when the talks took place.