Taipei, March 24 (CAN) As ruling and opposition lawmakers continue to discuss a means to end deadlock over the service trade agreement with China, Premier Jiang Yi-huah said that his party hopes any item-by-item review of the pact will be handled at a floor session of the Legislature.
During his discussions with President Ma Ying-jeou, who chairs the ruling Kuomintang (KMT), Jiang has heard no talk of sending the pact back to the Legislature's committees -- a stage that KMT legislators managed to sidestep when the opposition tried to prevent them from holding the review meeting as planned.
If the pact were handed back to the committees, Jiang noted that the Executive Yuan will have no part in deciding who presides over such a review, as that is the responsibility of the Legislative Yuan.
He denied that the deadlock, which has pushed protesters to launch an occupation of the Legislative Yuan, was of "constitutional" proportions and insisted it can still be resolved if disputing parties are willing to sit down and talk it out -- and if protest activities cool down.
Legislative Yuan Speaker Wang Jin-pyng convened a meeting between ruling and opposition lawmakers Monday afternoon that failed to make any substantial progress.
Ker Chien-ming, legislative whip of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party, called the KMT's insistence on a floor session a trick and called the meeting futile.
On March 17, convener of the joint screening committees and KMT lawmaker Chang Ching-chung sped the trade-in-services pact through the committee meeting in less than a minute, sending it straight to the Legislature floor as a "last resort" to opposition party lawmakers' efforts to block the meeting.
A group of the protesters led by students stormed into the Legislature the following day to protest what they consider a pact signed in secrecy and pushed through the Legislature by force.
Related stories:●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)●March 24: Legislative speaker to meet with lawmakers over trade pact row●March 23: Trade pact with China still under committee screening: speaker●March 22: DPP schedules review of China trade pact; KMT vows boycott
(Click here for the latest on the ongoing protest and developments since the Legislature occupation starting March 18.)