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September 25, 2017

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Tsai calls for deliberation of cross-strait trade pact

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said yesterday that Taiwan should refrain from thinking strategically about the Cross-Strait Trade in Services Agreement and conduct a substantial deliberation of the pact.

Ready to run for chairwoman once more, Tsai attended a press conference of think tank Thinking Taiwan yesterday and answered media questions about her — and the DPP's — plan to gain the world's approval of the party's cross-strait policies. The think tank yesterday publicized the launch of its English-language website.

"This does not concern the DPP only; the Taiwanese will have to face the shaping of cross-strait relations together. The launch of Thinking Taiwan's English version website also concerns cross-strait relations. The world will get to know Taiwan's side of the story and that may lessen the chances of misunderstandings. All of this would benefit Taiwan-China relations," said Tsai.

The priority should be to focus on the external negotiations of the trade pact, especially when it concerns an essential trade partner like China, said Tsai. "How can we turn this into an effective negotiation?"

"An effective negotiation has to be based on thorough communication within Taiwan and a complete evaluation of the impact the agreement would bring to Taiwan's industries," said Tsai.

Despite the traditional negotiation procedures that put administrative powers first and only then a review by the parliament (which passes, amends or rejects the issue), Tsai noted that she felt the best way would be for both powers to act together when negotiations are conducted. "This way is what the Taiwanese should consider ... there are many examples in other nations."

"As long as we consider this substantially and solve one issue at a time, I don't think (the pact) is something we cannot deal with," Tsai declared.

As for the supervisory law concerning cross-strait agreements that many activists have been calling for, Tsai replied that it was the first thing that should be done in dealing with the trade agreement. The law would ensure stable negotiations in the future and could also prevent heated disputes regarding the deliberation of the pacts.

Tsai Talks about Ex-VP's Pointed Suggestion

In a political talk show aired late Monday night, Tsai was also heard voicing her thoughts about former Vice President Annette Lu's (呂秀蓮) previous suggestion that she should not run for president if she lands the DPP chair post.

The party will ultimately determine who is best fit for the chairperson role and who for its presidential election candidate, said Tsai to show host Cheng Hung-yi (鄭弘儀).

Cheng brought up the awkward conversation he had with incumbent DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) previously, in which Su had stumped Cheng's question whether it would be fair for him to act as DPP chair and to run for president at the same time by asking if the same question had been directed at Tsai before.

"My biggest responsibility now is to become a good chairwoman for the DPP," said Tsai, who also said that she would be doing her best to break the ice with Su.

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