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Cross-strait pact stalls for a second day

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Legislative Yuan yesterday failed to deliberate a single article of the Cross-Strait Trade in Services Agreement as the ruling party and opposition lawmakers still argue over the regulated procedures to review the pact.

Following intense disputes and physical altercations with Kuomintang (KMT) lawmakers on Wednesday, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers on Wednesday night stayed overnight in the meeting room where the deliberation will be held.

Around 8:58 a.m. yesterday, DPP lawmakers counted down loudly to get ready for another battle with the KMT, and at 9 a.m. sharp, DPP lawmaker Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁), who is the convener of the cross-committee deliberation, announced the start of the meeting and requested the Legislature's staff to read out the meeting's minutes for March 13.

The KMT legislators, on the other hand, claimed that the meeting on March 12 is invalid, accusing the DPP caucus of not following the Legislative Yuan's regulated procedures for handling the service trade pact's deliberation.

Physical altercations again occurred between the ruling party and opposition legislators.

When KMT Legislator Lin Hung-chi (林鴻池) attempted to submit a proposal to reject the meeting record on behalf of the party to Chen, the latter announced a recess before Lin could place the written proposal in his hands.

Soon after Chen made the announcement, all DPP lawmakers left the meeting room, leaving KMT lawmakers yelling in the room without anyone responding them. The entire process took 10 minutes.

DPP Tactics

After the DPP lawmakers left the room, KMT legislators discovered a note with DPP Legislator Kuan Bi-ling's (管碧玲) signature on it. The note said when the meeting was to begin, the Legislative Yuan's staff should read out the meeting record of the previous meeting, and the KMT would definitely argue over the issue of regulated procedures.

The note also says the meeting record will be acknowledged (by Chen), and there are words of “calling a recess” on the note.

The KMT later held a press conference, condemning the DPP for running away from the meeting room to avoid reviewing the pact. The KMT claimed that the deliberations on March 12 and yesterday were both invalid.

DPP caucus also held a press conference, saying that both the meetings on Wednesday and yesterday were valid. The opposition party said Lin did not want to submit the proposal to Chen, as when Chen almost reached Lin's hands, the latter one withdrew his hands.

Chen lashed at the KMT saying that the DPP wants to deliberate the agreement article by article, but the ruling party is trying to block the pact from being reviewed by the opposition lawmakers.

As the deliberation over the cross-strait service trade pact came to an impasse, the KMT has requested Legislative Yuan Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) to step in and referee the situation.

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