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June 22, 2017

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DPP concludes two-day national policy conference

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Democratic Progressive Party concluded a two-day "national policy conference" yesterday, calling for President Ma Ying's apology for failure to get his job done and an immediate Cabinet reshuffle.

In a concluding speech, DPP chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen said Ma didn't dare face "realities" and is rushing to embrace China by signing a comprehensive economic cooperation arrangement (CECA) with Beijing.

"We demand Ma apologize and he reshuffle the Cabinet," Tsai said at the closing ceremony of the two-day meeting co-sponsored with the Taiwan Solidarity Union.

At least three Cabinet ministers have to go. They include Yiing Chii-ming, minister of economic affairs; Lee Su-der, minister of finance; and Chen Ching-hsiou, director-general of the Central Personnel Administration.

Ten conclusions were reached in the meeting which Tsai said is the first of a trio of her national policy conferences.

The second one will take place somewhere between April and May and the last one sometimes next year.

All conclusions are a repetition of platitudes save the broadside fired at the Kuomintang administration.

Tsai demanded oversight of the conduct of relations between Taiwan and China. "Such relations have to be conducted with perfect transparency," she urged.

She is vehemently opposed to the CECA, which she equates with a virtual instrument of surrender to the People's Republic.

"A CECA isn't a simple economic issue," Tsai declared. "It involves the exercise of sovereignty by an independent state," she said.

There can be no separation of economics from politics in relations across the Taiwan Strait, Tsai went on. "The Ma government should first propose a comprehensive review of Taiwan's political and economic relationship (before trying to sign the CECA)," she called on the president.

Huang Kun-hui, chairman of the Taiwan Solidarity Union, went further.

He said his party, of which former President Lee Teng-hui is the spiritual leader, would initiate Ma's recall when he has the CECA signed.

Lee was absent from the meeting. So was President Ma. Both had been invited, though.

"We do not rule out possibilities of launching a nationwide campaign to recall Ma as president, if the CECA is signed," Huang threatened.

Both Tsai and Huang considered the meeting a success.

They believe consensus was reached to put into force the decisions taken at the meeting, oversee the conduct of cross-Strait economic and trade relations, and launch a political and social reform.

One decision reached at the meeting is to call for an extension to one year the period of safety net protection for laid-off workers to claim benefits.

Currently, workers laid off in the economic downturn can claim unemployment compensation for six months.

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