No Beijing pressure on services pact: President Ma

03/23/2014 01:26 PM
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Taipei, March 23 (CNA) President Ma Ying-jeou denied Sunday that his administration has been pressured by China in its handling of a cross-strait services trade agreement.

The pact, signed last June, was in the process of being reviewed by the Legislature in Taiwan when a group of students occupied the meeting chamber of the Legislature last Tuesday evening, bringing the screening of the pact, and all other legislative operations, to a halt.

The protesting students originally asked for an article-by-article review of the pact, but later demanded that the Cabinet withdraw the services-trade pact from the legislature after their appeals gained wider supports from peers and some politicians.

In an effort to resolve the stand-off, President Ma held an international press conference Sunday morning to attempt to clear up major doubts by members of the public, including that the pact would result in large scale job losses.

In answering questions, Ma denied that his government has been under pressure from across the straits to quickly push the services trade pact through the legislature.

Also during the press conference, Ma flatly rejected the protesters' demand that the service trade pact be withdrawn from the Legislature.

"Even the opposition parties did not ask for a withdrawal of the pact, they just want an article-by-article review of the pact, " Ma said.

Ma, who doubles as chairman of the ruling Kuomintang (KMT), said that KMT's legislative caucus supports the opposition's proposal, and "they should work together in this way to solve the matter."

(By Keven Huang & Bear Lee)


Related stories:●March 23: President urges protesters to end occupation of Legislature●March 23: Protesters say president 'insincere' in responses to their calls●March 23: President Ma defends services pact with China (update-1)●March 22: Premier rejects protesters' demand for withdraw of pact with China (update)

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

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