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While favoring dialogue, Ma won't be to forced into talks: official

2014/03/22 10:48:03

President Ma Ying-jeou in talks with workers' representatives in 2013

Taipei, March 22 (CNA) President Ma Ying-jeou is always willing to hold dialogue with civic groups but will not accept the demand for dialogue made by students who have occupied the parliament since Tuesday, an official of the Presidential Office said Saturday.

The official's comments to CNA indicated that, while not ruling anything out, Ma objects the way the demand for dialogue has been made.

The Presidential Office's position is not that the president will talk to the students only after they have withdrawn from the Legislative Yuan or that there will be no dialogue without their evacuation, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Nor will the president hold a dialogue just so that the protest can come to end, she said.

The Presidential Office is willing to talk but will not accept the demand for talks made in the way that it has been made, said the official.

No matter who the interlocutors may be, the Presidential Office always supports peaceful and rational dialogues, she added.

Since his re-election in 2012, Ma has held talks with one civic group each month on average, she said. The topics covered include judicial reform, new immigrants, gender equality, environmental protection, ageing society, nuclear power, etc.

The official made the comments after the protesters vowed to expand their demonstrations as Ma failed their deadline for holding a dialogue with them before midday Friday.

The protesters criticize the perceived lack or transparency surrounding a service trade pact with China and the attempts by ruling Kuomintang (KMT) lawmakers to speed up its passage in the Legislative Yuan.

The have demanded that the agreement be returned to the committees of the Legislature for an article-by-article review.

On Saturday morning, they rejected the latest offer made by KMT lawmakers overnight to conduct a detailed review in floor sessions.

(By Kelven Huang and Jay Chen)

Related stories:
●March 22: President cancels visit amid protest concerns
●March 21: Major parties talk tough as speaker seeks to end protest standoff
●March 21: DPP mobilizes to support student protesters at Legislature
●March 21: Speaker skips out on meeting, pressures president for action
●March 21: Legislative session may be extended to July due to protest

(For the latest on the Legislature occupation, click here.)