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June 29, 2017

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KMT legislator announces passage of cross-strait pact, DPP cries foul

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Kuomintang Legislator Chang Ching-chung (張慶忠), who doubles as convener of this week's cross-committee deliberation of the Cross-Strait Trade in Services Agreement, claimed yesterday that he had formally announced that the pact passed deliberation and that he had sent it to the Yuan Sitting as a record and for future reference.

Last week, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmaker Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) convened two deliberations regarding the cross-strait service pact. However, not a single article of the agreement was deliberated on by lawmakers due to non-stop disputes between the ruling party and opposition lawmakers.

The KMT was scheduled to convene a deliberation yesterday and another on Wednesday. Around 2:30 p.m. yesterday, Chang attempted to announce that the meeting had begun, but was surrounded by opposition lawmakers and blocked from taking the rostrum.

The most serious conflict since the Legislature held deliberations over the agreement was triggered after both the rostrum and the podium in the meeting room were occupied by opposition legislators. Chang and DPP lawmaker Lin Shu-fen (林淑芬) were shoved to the ground while ruling party and opposition lawmakers used loudspeakers to yell at each other.

KMT's Tactics

After 10 minutes, Chang left the meeting. Around an hour later, Chang told reporters that during the 10 minutes after he announced the meeting had begun, the agreement had been passed and sent to the Yuan Sitting for future reference, after which Chang had announced a recess, meaning the deliberation of the pact had come to an end.

Chang said while he was announcing all of this, the microphone had been taken away from him by DPP lawmaker Chiu Chih-wei (邱志偉). However, the microphone Chiu took was from another meeting room.

According to Chang, since the microphone for the meeting room where the pact was being deliberated was in KMT lawmaker Lu Chia-chen's (盧嘉辰) hands, and Chang had clipped a hidden microphone to his collar, everything he announced was recorded. Therefore, according to Chang, the deliberation's conclusion has been made based on the convener's (his) announcement.

DPP's Response

In response to the KMT's claim, the DPP caucus held a press conference yesterday evening, saying that the ruling party had violated the law and that the deliberation meeting should be deemed invalid.

DPP caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) lashed out, saying that Chang just wandered around in the meeting room and later made his claim, which suggests the KMT does not want to abide by the Legislative Yuan's resolution to deliberate the agreement article by article.

Ker said the ruling party was commanded to do this by President Ma Ying-jeou, noting that people will not allow this to happen, and neither will the DPP. The KMT will have to bear all the consequences, he said.

The Cabinet Appreciates Chang's Efforts

The Executive Yuan last night issued a press statement, saying that it thanks the Legislative Yuan's cross-committee deliberation for passing the Cross-Strait Trade in Services Agreement, noting that it also appreciates Legislator Chang's efforts.

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