19 Jun 2002

Marshalls - no discussion on importing waste from Taiwan

9:13 am on 19 June 2002

A member of a Marshall Islands delegation to visit Taiwan says at no time were there discussions over the exporting of toxic waste.

Jack Niedenthal from Bikini Atoll says the issue never came up in any of the talks that he was present at.

Mr Niedenthal says the visit to Taiwan by president Kessai Note last month was mostly ceremonial.

"As far as I know, no-one in the Marshall Islands Government or any private businesses here, in the Marshall Islands, have contacted anybody in Taiwan regarding exporting of nuclear waste. I was on a trip with the President and our Foreign minister,to Taiwan and I was at most of the meetings and at no time, was this issue ever brought up."

The Taiwanese economics minister had been quoted as saying that Taiwan was negotiating with Solomon Islands about exporting toxic waste.

The foreign ministry later said the minister had made a mistake and was actually referring to the Marshall Islands.

Mr Niedenthal says there were discussions in the mid 90's over nuclear waste but nothing since.