The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislative caucus yesterday said it would stop participating in interparty negotiations convened to resolve the political stalemate over the cross-strait service trade agreement because the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) has repeatedly failed to respect the wishes of the public.
“We will stop attending the negotiations because the two sides remain oceans apart,” DPP Legislator Gao Jyh-peng (高志鵬) told a press conference yesterday after the breakdown of the fourth round of interparty negotiations, convened by Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) at his residence.
The negotiations were held to try to work out a solution to dealing with the agreement awaiting review by the legislature, hoping to put an end to the Sunflower student movement that has occupied the legislative floor since Tuesday last week.
The DPP has the same demands as the protesters, that the pact not be reviewed by the legislature until a legislative monitoring mechanism has been established, DPP caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) said.
The KMT caucus insists that the mechanism and the review of the pact should be separate issues. It also insists that the review must be presided over by Wang and that the DPP agree not to filibuster the review process.
“What we have is the KMT playing a two-handed strategy as President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) still refuses to answer the students’ demands directly,” Ker said.
While Wang has proposed initiating his own proposal to solve the conflict if the DPP and the KMT fail to agree, Ker said Wang’s proposal would be meaningless.
“The people are asking Ma for a positive response. The controversy will not end without Ma’s proposal,” Ker added.
Ker warned Ma that the trade pact controversy could become a “political nuclear bomb” that forces Ma’s early exit if the president fails to handle it carefully and refuses to listen to the public’s voice.
The student movement has not been losing steam, but gathering momentum since the bloody crackdown on the protesters at the Executive Yuan compound on Monday morning, Ker said.
“It shows the collective anxiety of Taiwanese toward the Ma administration’s pro-China position and its poor governance, and that the violation of democratic principles and constitutionalism has reached boiling point,” he said.
Wang said yesterday that he would keep working to bring the two sides together to find a consensus.
“At this critical moment for the country, all sides have to address the stalemate and work together to find a solution and regain the public’s trust,” Wang said.
Additional reporting by CNA