Thu, Apr 10, 2014 - Page 1 News List

Ma, students take war of words over pact to the US

By Nadia Tsao, Hua Meng-ching and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporters in WASHINGTON and TAIPEI, with staff writer

Members of the Free Taiwan Front stage a protest in front of Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Tsai Chin-lung’s office in Greater Taichung yesterday.

Photo: CNA

The student-government conflict over the cross-strait service trade agreement has seemingly extended overseas as student representatives accepted an invitation from the Washington-based Formosan Association for Public Affairs (FAPA) to hold a press conference in the US the same day as President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) was holding a video conference with a Washington think tank yesterday.

During the president’s teleconference, organized by the Center for Strategic and International Studies as a part of events marking the 35th anniversary of the signing of the Taiwan Relations Act, Ma conveyed to the US audience the direction of his government’s cross-strait policies, as well as Taiwan’s resolve to integrate with the wider regional economy by joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade pacts.

If Taiwan could join the TPP, it would be beneficial to the nation and all other TPP members, Ma said, adding that it would safeguard the Taiwanese economy and strengthen the US’ economic strategy in Asia.

When asked by US academics about the student-led protests over the Ma administration’s handling of the cross-strait service trade agreement, Ma said his administration would work to communicate the benefits of the pact to the public.

Saying he understands people’s doubts and fears of overt reliance on China, Ma said that since he assumed office Taiwan’s exports have been distributed to many other countries.

The diversification of exports — not placing all the nation’s eggs in one basket — is an important part of the government’s ongoing economic polices, Ma said, adding that the results of such policies take time to come to fruition and are not instantaneous.

Meanwhile, student representatives Dennis Wei (魏揚) and Huang Yu-fen (黃郁芬), aside from attending the press conference hosted by FAPA, were also scheduled to conduct a talk with students at the George Washington University yesterday evening.

Additional reporting by CNA

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