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Mainland Affairs Council says more pros than cons in cross-strait agreement

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said yesterday that the Cross-Strait Trade in Services Agreement has more advantages than disadvantages with regard to Taiwan's development, adding that it will strengthen communications with the Legislative Yuan and the public.

The MAC added that it fully respects parliamentary procedures.

During the council's routine press conference yesterday, MAC Deputy Minister and spokeswoman Wu Mei-hung (吳美紅) said that the cross-strait services trade pact will give Taiwanese investors the initiative to enter the mainland Chinese market as well as attract mainland Chinese investment to Taiwan and enliven the island's economy.

The pact will also create a stronger platform for Taiwan to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, Wu said, adding that the pact has more advantages than disadvantages with regard to Taiwan's development.

The government would like to see the pact take effect soon, and as for follow-up talks related to the cross-strait Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement, the relevant authorities will go ahead with their schedules as planned, Wu said.

The executive, however, will continue to strengthen communications with the parliament and the public, including ruling party and opposition caucuses, the various legislative committees, experts and academics, Wu said.

On Tuesday, activists stormed the Legislative Yuan and seized control of the Assembly Hall. More than 200 occupied the main building and sealed off all entrances while thousands surrounded the entire compound in an attempt to prevent lawmakers from ratifying the pact.

The protesters gave President Ma Ying-jeou and Legislative Yuan Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) an “ultimatum,” demanding that Ma communicate with them directly and that Wang make a ruling on the pact's status by Friday noon. The activists threatened to expand their demonstration if the president and speaker do not comply with their demands.

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