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September 27, 2017

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Cross-caucus talks fail to reach pact consensus

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Legislative Yuan Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) yesterday afternoon convened a cross-caucus negotiation over the issue of the Cross-Strait Trade in Services Agreement. However, no consensus was reached.

Given that the Legislative Yuan is currently occupied by student activists, the negotiations were held at Wang's residence in Taipei. This was the second cross-caucus negotiation held at Wang's residence since the student movement began.

Wang later told local press that both ruling and opposition parties have expressed their positions clearly on the issue, noting that he will convene another cross-caucus negotiation for the sake of the nation's future at the appropriate time.

Wang at the same time issued a statement, urging both the ruling party and opposition caucus to listen to people's voice, and try to strike a balance to solve the current controversy together.

Kuomintang (KMT) Legislator Lin Hung-chi (林鴻池) said the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) caucus demands that the government reject the Cross-Strait Trade in Services Agreement, while the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus wants to deliberate the agreement and restart negotiations with mainland China.

Lin said, however, the agreement will affect Taiwan's economic and trade development, noting that the government undertook great efforts to sign the pact with China. Retracting the pact or restarting negotiation will pose influence to the country, he said.

DPP caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) said the party will wait until after President Ma Ying-jeou has a talk with student activists, and then will consider if it is necessary to negotiate with the ruling party caucus.

Ker said the DPP will see if Ma is sincere about wanting to talk with the students. Only then will there be space for a cross-caucus negotiation over the pact. He urged Ma to admit his fault, or Ma will be "the straw that broke his own back."

TSU caucus whip Lai Cheng-chang (賴振昌) said the party clearly demands the rejection of the service trade pact and supports the legislation of the Bill on Pacts between Taiwan and China — a draft bill proposed to supervise the government on signing agreements with China.

KMT lawmaker Chang Ching-chung (張慶忠), who held a cross-committee deliberation for the service trade pact on March 17, announced the deliberation is completed and the pact is to be sent to the Yuan Sitting for record and future reference.

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