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Legislative speaker seeking end to standoff over trade pact

2014/03/25 22:37:20

Taipei, March 25 (CNA) Legislative Yuan Speaker Wang Jin-pyng said Tuesday that he will call another meeting to coordinate the views of the ruling and opposition parties in appropriate time, after the second such meeting aimed at ending the standoff over a trade pact with China ended in failure.

Wang noted that the legislative caucuses of various political parties have fully expressed their views and have agreed to examine their differences on the issue.

Legislator Lin Hung-chih of the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) said that the opposition Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP's) legislative caucus has demanded a substantive review of the pact, as well as the restarting of negotiations with China on the pact, while its ally, the Taiwan Solidarity Union, wants the entire deal to be scrapped.

However, according to Lin, the pact, signed in June 2013 after much effort, is crucial to Taiwan's economic development and if it is scrapped or negotiations have to be restarted, the "impact will be too great."

Ker Chien-ming, DPP caucus whip, said that since President Ma Ying-jeou has offered to talk with students protesting over the pact, his party will test the president's sincerity once such talks have taken place.

He called on Ma to extend an olive branch and admit his mistakes.

KMT legislators sent the pact straight to the legislative floor March 17, bypassing a review by legislative committees. A group of protesters, mostly students, stormed the legislature and occupied the main chamber the following day to protest against what they perceive as a pact signed in secrecy and against the way the KMT bypassed the review.

Ma said earlier Tuesday that he is willing to invite representative of the students who are still holding out in the Legislature to come to the Presidential Office to present their views, in a bid to help end the standoff and allow the operations of the Legislature to get back on track.

(By Wang Chin-yi and Lilian Wu)

Related stories:
●March 25: Cross-party talk on services trade pact standoff fails again
●March 24: Legislative speaker vows to resolve deadlock over cross-strait pact
●March 24: KMT aiming for item-by-item review of pact at floor session
●March 24: KMT, DPP lawmakers fail to reach agreement of China trade pact
●March 24: DPP lawmakers demand renegotiation of pact with China (update 2)

(Click here for the latest on the ongoing protest and developments since the Legislature occupation starting March 18.)