Taipei, Dec. 17 (CNA) Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) chief Chen Ming-tong (陳明通) accused China on Monday of mismanaging the African swine fever (ASF) outbreak and said its failure to bring it under control will deal a heavy blow to Taiwan's hog-raising industry.
"The epidemic is a very serious matter," Chen said, criticizing China for losing control of the epidemic across the Taiwan Strait.
"This demonstrates China's mismanagement of the infectious disease, which has forced Taiwan to step up its management and inspection," he said at a legislative hearing.
According to Chen, the MAC has asked China three times to hold bilateral talks on measures to combat ASF, including banning e-commerce platforms from selling foreign pork products, with the latest request issued Dec. 14.
"But the Chinese side has yet to respond," he said, urging China to set aside political considerations when fighting an epidemic across the strait.
Chen warned the public not to bring in Chinese meat products or risk a fine of up to NT$1 million (US$30,800).
ASF has spread across 22 provinces, cities and areas in China since its outbreak in early August, and Taiwanese authorities believe it could seriously hurt Taiwan's pig-farming industry, which has an annual output value of NT$150 billion per year, according to Chen.
To prevent the ASF virus from entering Taiwan, inspections have been tightened at sea ports and airports across the country.
Fines will be increased to NT$200,000 for first-time offenders and NT$1 million for repeat offenders for travelers caught smuggling meat products from ASF-affected countries, effective Tuesday.