Cross-party talk on services trade pact standoff fails again - Focus Taiwan

Cross-party talk on services trade pact standoff fails again

Taipei, March 25 (CNA) A cross-party consultation on a solution to a standoff over a disputed trade-in-services pact with China broke down again in Taipei Tuesday.

Leaders of the legislative caucuses of the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) and opposition parties including the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) failed to agree on how best to end a deadlock over the deal that has sparked student-led protests and an occupation of government buildings in the past week.

A similar meeting chaired by Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng at his official residence a day earlier failed to produce consensus.

Ker Chien-ming, convener of the DPP's legislative caucus, said after the meeting that the party's hopes are being pinned on a dialogue between President Ma Ying-jeou and the protesters on ending the stalemate before a third round of consultation is held.

Ma has floated the idea of talks on the standoff with the protest leaders, a proposal the protesters have largely agreed to.

The student-led protesters stormed the legislative chamber in downtown Taipei March 18 and have since been occupying the facility to protest moves by KMT lawmakers to fast-track the pact to a full floor vote.

Hundreds of protesters broke into the Cabinet headquarters a block away from the Legislature Sunday after the government refused protesters' demands to retract the agreement.

The protesters were removed by police early Monday, drawing criticism that the officers used excessive force in evicting the protesters.

The pact to open up the service sectors on each side of the Taiwan Strait to investment from the other side was signed last June but has been stalled in the Legislature by opposition lawmakers who fear that it will give China a stronger hold on Taiwan's economy and hurt local job and business opportunities.

(By Wang Ching-yi and Scully Hsiao)ENDITEM/J

Related stories:●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.)

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