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DPP calls for protests over cross-strait pact

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) yesterday called for the people to conduct a protest surrounding the Legislative Yuan to demand that the Legislature review the controversial cross-strait service trade pact.

The pact, which the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) caucus and KMT 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 had already passed deliberation and was to be sent to the Yuan Sitting as a record and for future reference on Monday, which was when the Legislative Yuan's eight standing committees were originally scheduled to hold a joint deliberation of the agreement.

Su said his demand was aimed at taking care of the people's jobs and to ensure the nation's safety.

The agreement, once passed and implemented, would affect as many as 1,000 job sectors and several million people, said Su, who stressed that the Legislature had previously agreed to review and vote on the pact instead of conducting a packaged vote.

The KMT had signed the agreement, a backroom deal, with the People's Republic of China, but the party trampled the consensus reached by both ruling and opposition lawmakers; the DPP is against such actions that “defy democracy and anger the people,” said Su.

The DPP is inviting the opposition parties, citizen groups and industry sector representatives to “keep an eye” on the review of the pact and keep the KMT from passing it by force on March 20. The protest is slated to be held the next day, said Su.

KMT Ruining the Interaction Between Parties: Hsieh

Former Premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) also criticized the KMT's actions in its attempt to pass the pact. “The KMT has broken the intraparty negotiations and ruined all future interaction between the ruling and opposition parties. The KMT has made an unforgivable mistake,” said Hsieh.

Despite that everyone has his own opinion regarding the pact, the Legislature has agreed after a negotiation that the pact should be reviewed line by line; staying true to the agreement is important in terms of mutual trust in politics, said Hsieh. “If the agreements made in the negotiations are not carried out, this may affect the Legislature in the future.”

“The parties had agreed to review the pact line by line, and that it was not to be carried out without an actual review. It is time-consuming to review it line by line, but this is what democracy is like. If you get impatient and say it should be implemented now, this decision will break the relationship between caucuses,” said Hsieh.

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 Taipei announces opposition against route of Beiyi Railway 
Protesters hold banners in the meeting chamber of the Legislative Yuan in Taipei, yesterday. After breaking through police lines outside the gates, protesters opposed to the Cross-Strait Trade in Services Agreement rushed into the Legislative Yuan. (CNA)

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