One of the leaders of protesters occupying the legislative chamber said the students could not at this time accept an invitation from President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who had, seven days into the occupation, finally agreed to meet with representatives from the group.
Protest leader Lin Fei-fan (林飛帆) confirmed that the group received a call on Tuesday from Presidential Office spokeswoman Lee Chia-fei (李佳霏), who delivered an invitation for student representatives to talk with the president in the Presidential Office, but Lin said that the protesters were not ready to accept it.
Lin and the activists had initially planned to accept the invitation, but upon hearing that during a cross-party negotiation in the afternoon, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers had refused to allow the cross-strait service trade agreement to be returned to the Internal Administrative Committee for review, the students changed their mind about meeting with Ma.
“We’re worried that the president is being duplicitous,” Lin told a press conference held on the legislative floor.
“He pretends to be open-minded and willing to talk with us on one hand, but he asked KMT lawmakers to block a review of the trade pact,” Lin said.
“Until Ma promises that KMT legislators will not boycott a renewed review of the agreement, we will not agree to talk with him,” the student leader added.
He added that the talk should involve other social groups and should be held in public, such as on Ketagalan Boulevard in front of the Presidential Office.
Lee said the president still expects to speak with the students under no preconditions and that the Presidential Office would agree to allow media participation in the meeting.
“It looks like, at the moment, the students have yet to reach a consensus among themselves, and we will wait until they are ready to respond to our invitation,” she said.
“We will try our best to arrange a meeting with the student activists,” she added.