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July 28, 2017

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Ma lauds KMT over cross-strait pact

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- President Ma Ying-jeou said yesterday that in the process of dealing with the Cross-Strait Trade in Services Agreement, the Kuomintang (KMT) caucus has insisted on reason and legality, expressing gratitude to ruling party lawmakers.

The president made the comments during the KMT's weekly Central Standing Committee meeting.

According to a member of the ruling party who attended the meeting, a KMT Central Standing Committee member condemned the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) for violating cross-caucus resolutions, while another raised concerns over reports of activists getting drunk and hanging the national flag upside down in the Legislature's Assembly Hall, while yet another raised concerns that student activists were being manipulated by people with ulterior motives.

A KMT Central Standing Committee member was cited as saying that according to surveys, 60 percent of the public support the pact, and that the government should take appropriate measures to better explain the agreement, in order to minimize adverse effects on national development.

The president did not make any specific comments on the demonstration being held at the Legislature, but thanked lawmakers for their efforts in dealing the pact. The president's statement drew applause from the committee.

KMT Says Favors of Article-by-article Review

In a press release, KMT headquarters said that it has always been in favor of an article-by-article review and an article-by-article vote on the agreement.

Due to opposition lawmakers, the Legislature was not able to complete the process, the KMT said in its statement.

Lawmakers across party lines had agreed that "the Cross-Strait Trade in Services Agreement should be reviewed article-by-article and voted on article-by-article," the KMT said, adding that it has always been in favor of upholding the resolution, and that it had scheduled committee reviews.

In an attempt to block legislative procedures, DPP lawmakers seized the rostrum and violated the cross-caucus resolution, the KMT said, adding that the DPP then blamed ruling party lawmakers for not following the resolution.

There have been several instances of physical alterations between activists and the police, while DDP Chairman Su Tseng-chang and former DPP Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen were present, the KMT said, adding that several opposition lawmakers were seen encouraging student activists to confront police.

Legislative Yuan Speaker Wang Jin-pyng urges the public to remain calm and rational, in order for the Legislature to return to normal and deal with the pact rationally, the KMT said.

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