China allows Taiwan to send probe team over milk scandal


Taipei : China has approved Taiwan’s request to send a delegation to China to investigate its tainted milk scandal because contaminated Chinese dairy products have been exported to Taiwan, an official said Thursday.

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Kao Kung-lien, secretary general of Taiwan’s Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF), told reporters that Li Yafei, secretary general of China’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS), confirmed Beijing’s approval to his Taiwan counterpart.

ARATS and SEF are semi-official agencies that handle cross-strait ties in the absence of formal relations.

China said it hoped the Taiwan delegation could arrive in China Saturday and hold talks with Chinese experts on food safety issues the next day.

Taiwan government spokeswoman Shih Ya-ping said the Taiwan delegation would have five members, including toxicologists, kidney experts and public health officials.

Taiwan has imported at least 25 tons of milk powder tainted with the chemical melamine made by the Sanlu Group and a large amount of other diary and food products produced by other Chinese companies.

China’s tainted milk has caused worry in Taiwan, but so far, no illnesses or deaths have been known to be caused by it.

In China, however, four babies have died and at least 53,000 have been sickened.

Taiwan has banned the import of Chinese diary and food products and said it would lift the ban when China can ensure the safety of its food exports.