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May 30, 2017

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Mainland considers service trade accord 'mutually beneficial'

BEIJING -- Cross-strait economic cooperation should not be disturbed by disputes about a service trade pact, which the mainland considers "mutually beneficial."

"From the mainland's perspective, the cross-straits service trade pact is well drafted and mutually beneficial. We did what we should do (in the negotiation of the pact)," said Ma Xiaoguang, spokesman with the State Council Taiwan Affairs Office, at a press conference while commenting on protests against the pact in Taiwan.

Hundreds of college students have occupied the island's legislative chamber in Taipei since Tuesday last week to protest against ratification of the pact.

The two sides of the Taiwan Strait signed the pact as a result of economic liberation and globalization, Ma said, adding that neither Taiwan nor the mainland can avoid the process of economic integration.

Ma reminded the people of Taiwan of the positive effects of cross-strait economic cooperation to economic growth and people's livelihoods on both sides over the past two decades.

"We do not want the economic cooperation to be affected," he said.

The mainland and Taiwan should not dismiss the progress made in cross-strait relations since 2008, he said.

"No one would like to see cross-straits relations return to the tension and confrontation before 2008," he said. "For the sake of people on both sides, no one wants to see peaceful development disturbed."

He urged the people of Taiwan to look carefully at the pact and to clarify their misunderstandings.

A follow-up agreement to the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement, the service trade pact was signed in June 2013 and promises to open up 80 of the mainland's service sectors to Taiwan and 64 of Taiwan's sectors to the mainland.

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