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September 24, 2017

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Students' decision to end occupation in line with expectations: Ma

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- President Ma Ying-jeou said yesterday that the student activists' decision to end their occupation of the Legislative Yuan's Assembly Hall is in line with the expectations of the nation's absolute majority.

The student activists are slated to end their occupation, which entered its fourth week, on Thursday night.

On Sunday, Legislative Yuan Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) unexpectedly announced that he would no longer conduct cross-caucus negotiations over the Cross-Strait Trade in Services Agreement until an oversight law for cross-strait agreements was passed.

The announcement came as a complete surprise to the Kuomintang (KMT) caucus, members of which, such as KMT deputy caucus whip Alex Fai (費鴻泰), said that they felt as if they'd been betrayed.

In response, the president said, "Speaker Wang's view is not in conflict with the government's stance. We look upon this with a positive attitude."

The president called on ruling party and opposition lawmakers to begin examining the different versions of the proposed cross-strait agreement supervisory act as soon as possible.

Since student activists occupied the Assembly Hall on March 18, the government has been constantly replying to their demands, the president said, adding that he extended an invitation on several occasions for representatives of the student activists to come to the Presidential Office.

In response to Wang's announcement, the president explained that a majority of the nation supports having the cross-strait agreement supervisory act clear the Legislature as soon as possible and that a review on the Cross-Strait Trade in Services Agreement should be held concurrently.

The speaker did not announce that he is against an article-by-article review of the service trade pact, Ma pointed out, calling on lawmakers to pass the proposed oversight law within the current session.

The ruling party and opposition caucuses reached a consensus on June 25, 2013 to conduct an article-by-article review and vote on the service trade pact, the president said, adding that the consensus reached among lawmakers is consistent with the student activists' earliest demand.

Ma urged opposition lawmakers not to overthrow the consensus by staging an attempt to block the review.

Facing external challenges, Taiwan needs to remain united and move forward, the president said, urging the people to work together for the sake of Taiwan's future.

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