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US monitoring progress of cross-strait service pact: King

NEW YORK--Amid strong opposition back home over the handling of the trade-in-services pact with China, Taiwan's outgoing representative to the United States said U.S. experts are monitoring the details and procedures surrounding the agreement.

Think tanks are watching to see whether Taiwan follows international convention with the agreement it signed with China in June last year, King Pu-tsung said, invoking the Taiwanese administration's argument that the fate of the pact will affect Taiwan's future free trade endeavors with other countries.

King, who is set to take up his new post as secretary-general of the National Security Council on March 25, was in New York on his way back to Taipei from Washington, where he headed Taiwan's primary representative office in the U.S. until now.

Commenting on how the occupation of Taiwan's legislative chamber by students protesting what they call a lack of transparency surrounding the agreement, King said that observers in the U.S. are paying close attention to Taiwan's ability to adhere to international practices, including whether the government maintains an open attitude toward markets with free and fair trade in mind.

He called for differences of opinion to be resolved in a peaceful and reasonable manner, reiterating an earlier statement made in Washington in which he condemned the damaging of public assets.

As Taiwan is a democratic society, the will of the majority should be followed while the voices of the minority are respected, he said, but nobody should ever resort to violence.

The loud voices of the minority do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the silent majority, he added, calling for communication and a resolution in line with the rule of law.

Asked on what should be done to end the protest, now entering its fourth full day, King said that he respects the Legislature's autonomy in dealing with the situation, adding nonetheless that he believes the speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives would not, for example, tolerate “a violent and forceful occupation” of the House floor.

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