The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus yesterday issued a counterproposal to what it called an “unconstitutional” draft regulation suggested by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to provide a legally binding framework for the legislature to monitor cross-strait agreements.
“The KMT’s version for bolstering legislative supervision of cross-strait treaties not only conforms to the Constitution, but also guarantees practical, effective legislative monitoring of any future agreement to be inked by both sides of the Taiwan Strait,” KMT caucus whip Lin Hung-chih (林鴻池) told a press conference at the legislature yesterday morning.
Deputy caucus whip Wang Ting-son (王廷升) said the KMT has proposed a four-stage guideline for the Executive Yuan to follow in the cross-strait treaty process.
During the first stage, “issue formation,” the Executive Yuan would be required to brief the legislative speaker and deputy speaker, all legislative caucuses, as well as concerned legislative committees, on the proposed contents of the agreement, Wang said.
The second, “communication,” stage would see the legislature routinely updated on the progress of negotiations, Wang said.
The third stage would be the pre-signing phase, during which the Executive Yuan would have to inform the legislature of the important details of the accord, its potential benefits and the ways in which it is to be enacted.
In the fourth, post-signing stage, the Executive Yuan would have to provide the legislature with special reports on the achievements of the treaty if requested to do so.
Lin said the KMT hoped that its proposed guideline could help develop a standard communication pattern between the Executive Yuan and the legislature.
The DPP first proposed its “draft regulation governing the signing of agreements between Taiwan and China” (台灣與中國締結協議處理條例草案) after the KMT returned to power in 2008.
The proposal stipulates that the Executive Yuan would have to consult with and deliver reports to the legislature on any cross-strait agreements — prior to their being signed — that could affect the nation’s economic interests, national defense or foreign policies.
The proposal says that once such a treaty or pact is signed, it would have to be sent to the legislature for review and approval before being put to a national referendum.
The KMT caucus has been blocking the draft regulation from being put on the legislative agenda, saying that its title runs counter to the Constitution, which refers to the sides of the Strait as “the Taiwan area” and “the mainland area,” and that putting every major accord to a popular vote would be a waste of social resources and an impediment to cross-strait interactions.
Meanwhile, Mainland Affairs Council Minister Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) told a press conference that Taiwan and China are to sign two more agreements at the 10th high-level meeting scheduled for Wednesday in Taipei — the “Cross-Strait Meteorological Cooperation Agreement” and the “Cross-Strait Seismic Monitoring Cooperation Agreement.”
The two pacts would allow the Central Weather Bureau to exchange data with the China Meteorological Administration and China Earthquake Administration.
Wang said the pending agreements were the first two treaties to be subjected to a national security screening mechanism that the council recently established in response to public demand for “procedural justice” in the government’s signing of accords with China.
Under the council’s mechanism, pending cross-strait pacts have to be first sent to the Cabinet for review before being reviewed by a group of academics brought together by the National Security Council.
“The contents of the two pacts have passed the screening of five experts on meteorology, politics and foreign policy,” Central Weather Bureau Director-General Hsin Tsai-chin (辛在勤) said.
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