Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Chang Ching-chung (張慶忠) yesterday triggered fresh controversy by passing a KMT proposal at a legislative committee meeting he was chairing to probe the signing of the cross-strait service trade agreement and abruptly calling the session to an end while Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Tuan Yi-kang (段宜康) was still speaking at the podium.
Amid the ongoing disputes over the trade pact and the government’s handling of it, a commission was created under the legislature’s Internal Administration Committee to investigate the criticisms and concerns voiced about the cross-strait negotiations that led to the deal’s signing.
Since the majority of government agencies have yet to submit the documents for the probe requested by the commission, the committee last week decided to extend the submission deadline from May 31 to Aug. 31, when it will be DPP Legislator Chen Chi-mai’s (陳其邁) turn to serve as committee chair.
Photo: Wang Min-wei, Taipei Times
However, KMT legislators on the committee yesterday tabled a proposal to change the deadline back to its original date, triggering protests from their DPP counterparts, who took turns speaking at the podium to explain why they are opposed to moving the deadline back.
As Tuan was speaking, Chang suddenly asked the committee to vote on the KMT motion and quickly declared that it had passed, so the deadline was restored to May 31.
“Do you know the price you have to pay to run a tank through the committee meeting?” Tuan said in reaction to Chang’s move.
“This is too much, how could you hold a vote and declare a motion passed while a legislator is still talking on the podium?” DPP Legislator Lee Chun-yi (李俊俋) said.
Ignoring the protests, Chang called the meeting to an end and promptly left the room.
“Chang has planted a bomb in the Internal Administration Committee,” Tuan said. “We will see what happens on Wednesday [during the next meeting].”
After the meeting, DPP lawmakers condemned what they called the KMT’s “rude” behavior at a press conference.
“It’s clear that by changing the document request deadline from Aug. 31 — the date agreed upon at last week’s committee meeting — to May 31, the KMT is trying to prevent the public from knowing the truth behind the [cross-strait service trade pact] negotiations,” Chen said.
If the deadline is at the end of the month, there will not be enough time to request and collect the required documents, he added.
Chen said he would convene another committee meeting next week to again extend the document request deadline.
There is only one reason the KMT wants to move the deadline forward: To pass the supervision statute and the service trade pact in the current legislative session or an in extra session, if there is one, Lee added.
“I’d like to remind KMT legislators that the ‘black-box procedure’ [critics’ term for the bilateral trade negotiations] is what triggered the Sunflower movement. They should not have produced another black box,” Lee said.
Additional reporting by Chris Wang
CLOSE ENCOUNTERS: Several of the PLA fighter jets that crossed the median line of the Strait came within 68km of Hsinchu, drawing warnings from Taiwan, the ministry said At least 18 Chinese military aircraft yesterday flew into the nation’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) on the second day of a US delegation’s visit, the Ministry of National Defense said, adding that the military responded by deploying an air defense missile system to monitor their activities. A delegation led by US Undersecretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment Keith Krach on Thursday started a three-day visit to Taiwan. The ministry from Thursday started publicizing the actions of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in Taiwan’s ADIZ on its Web site and Twitter. According to ministry reports, 18 PLA aircraft
TWO CASES: The five allegedly conspired with conglomerates, threatening the nation’s governance and subverting the rules of ethical conduct, a deputy chief prosecutor said Taipei prosecutors yesterday charged three legislators and one former lawmaker with contravening the Anti-Corruption Act (貪污治罪條例) in a case linked to former Pacific Distribution Investment Co (太平洋流通) chairman Lee Heng-lung’s (李恆隆) battle with the Far Eastern Group (遠東集團) over ownership of the Pacific SOGO Department Store (太平洋崇光百貨) chain, while independent Legislator Chao Cheng-yu (趙正宇) was indicted in a separate case involving two funeral services companies and a plot of land in a national park. Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators Chen Chao-ming (陳超明) and Sufin Siluko (廖國棟), Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Su Chen-ching (蘇震清) and former New Power Party legislator
PENGHU INSPECTION: Taiwan cannot let its enemies strut around in its airspace, Tsai said, one day after a Chinese spokesman denied a median line exists in the Taiwan Strait Following China’s assertion on Monday that there is no “median line” in the Taiwan Strait, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday pledged to defend the nation’s airspace during a visit to an air force base in Penghu, saying that Taiwan cannot allow others to flex their military muscle in its territorial airspace. Tsai praised the “heroic performance” of the pilots of the Indigenous Defense Fighters who have been intercepting Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force planes in recent days. “I have a lot of confidence in you. As soldiers of the Republic of China [ROC], how could we let enemies strut
Swedish Member of Parliament Hampus Hagman is pushing for changing the name of the nation’s trade office in Taipei to signal improved relations with “Asia’s perhaps foremost democracy.” Hagman on Wednesday last week proposed renaming the Swedish Trade and Invest Council to “Sweden’s Office in Taipei,” following similar changes by other nations. The Swedish Trade and Invest Council, part of Business Sweden, is owned by the Swedish government and Swedish industry. Taiwan and Sweden share important values such as respect for democracy, human rights, the rule of law and freedom of speech, Hagman said in the motion, adding that the two nations