Students' bill unconstitutional: minister
By Adam Tyrsett Kuo, The China Post
April 8, 2014, 12:15 am TWN
TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Minister Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) said yesterday that the version of the cross-strait agreement supervisory act proposed by the student activists occupying the Legislative Yuan runs counter to the R.O.C. Constitution in terms of how it defines cross-strait relations, adding that if activists or the opposition would like to alter that definition, they should make their position clear.
Wang made the comments at a public hearing on the institutionalization of cross-strait agreement oversight at the Legislative Yuan.
The nature of cross-strait relations is clearly defined by the constitution, Wang said, stressing that all laws have to comply with the constitution.
If the activists' version of the proposed act cannot be made to comply with the constitution, it will — if passed — severely impact cross-strait ties, Wang said.
Activists should make their stance clear on the issue of cross-strait relations, Wang said, adding that if they would like to amend the constitution, they should say so bravely.
"Does the Democratic Progressive Party support it? Does (DPP) Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) support it? Does (former DPP) Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) support the nongovernmental version?" Wang asked.
The MAC has conducted several surveys, and an absolute majority has consistently expressed support for maintaining the status quo, Wang said. "If people want to change it, they should say it out loud, and let the people understand what the situation is."
In response, DPP lawmaker Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) said that a discussion on the proposed act is not a showdown between those who support unification and those who support independence, urging government officials not to label others carelessly.
In return, Wang said that government officials who understand the consequences of passing the nongovernmental version as it stands have a responsibility to remind the public of what the consequences are.
The minister said that the Executive Yuan's version institutionalizes communication between the executive and the Legislative Yuan as well as the public, and that if passed, it will help decrease disputes resulting from differences in understanding.
Last year, Legislative Yuan Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) said that the executive did not give him a report on the Cross-Strait Trade in Services Agreement, whereas the executive maintained that it did, Wang said, citing the event as an example of differences in understanding.
If each phase of communication can be clearly delineated, then the executive will adhere to the procedures closely, and as a result, disputes will not arise over differences in understanding, the minister said.
Politically sensitive issues such as a peace treaty and/or a mechanism for military mutual trust are not the priorities in cross-strait negotiations, the minister said.
President Ma Ying-jeou has said that a peace treaty cannot be brokered without a referendum being held first, Wang added.
The executive has stated that politically sensitive issues are not the priority, and it will abide by its statement; otherwise, it will be held politically accountable, Wang said.