Fri, Mar 29, 2019 - Page 1 News List

Cross-strait political deal bill unveiled

REVIEW MECHANISM:The bill is a response to Chinese President Xi Jinping’s ‘five points,’ which included a proposal to impose ‘one country, two systems’ on Taiwan

By Sean Lin  /  Staff reporter

Mainland Affairs Council Minister Chen Ming-tong speaks at a news conference in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Peter Lo, Taipei Times

The Executive Yuan yesterday unveiled a draft amendment to the Act Governing Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (台灣地區與大陸地區人民關係條例), which would to introduce a “high threshold” review mechanism for any political agreement signed by the two sides of the Taiwan Strait.

The planned amendment seeks to put in place safeguards before, during and after a cross-strait political agreement is signed.

The Cabinet would have to submit a plan to enter into any political agreement with China to the legislature, as well as assessments of the effects the agreement would have on the nation’s Constitution and political system at least 90 days before a negotiation is scheduled to take place.

Negotiations could only be initiated after the plan has garnered the approval of at least 75 percent of lawmakers during a plenary session with an attendance of at least 75 percent.

During negotiations, government agencies must report any developments to the legislature.

The Executive Yuan could terminate the negotiations should they prove unfeasible, or the Legislative Yuan could veto them if at least half of the lawmakers voted to do so.

If the two sides of the Taiwan Strait work out a draft agreement, the Executive Yuan should deliver it to the president within 15 days. The president would have another 15 days to sign off on the deal.

Before a draft agreement is tendered to a legislative plenary session for review, the legislature would be obligated to hold public hearings.

The draft agreement would then need to gain the backing of at least 75 percent of lawmakers during a plenary session with at least 75 percent attendance.

It would then be required to pass a national referendum by garnering the votes of at least half of all eligible voters.

If the referendum is passed, the two sides could formally sign an agreement, which would take effect after it is signed by the president.

Any proposal to alter or renounce the nation’s sovereignty would not be allowed as a topic or item for political negotiations under the act.

The draft provision has its roots in Constitutional Interpretation No. 499, which annulled a number of supplementary clauses to the Constitution passed in 1999 by the now-defunct National Assembly, as they were at odds with the fundamental spirit of the Constitution — that the nation is a republic underpinned by democracy and separation of powers, Mainland Affairs Council Minister Chen Ming-tong (陳明通) told a news conference.

The Constitution forbids the government from renouncing the nation’s sovereignty, Chen said.

The planned amendment was proposed in response to Chinese President Xi Jinping’s (習近平) “five points” during his address on Jan. 2, which included a proposal to impose a “one country, two systems” framework on Taiwan, a threat that China has not renounced the use of force to annex Taiwan, as well as another proposal to initiate so-called “democratic negotiations” with representatives from Taiwanese society, Chen said.

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Jan. 1 proposed “four musts and a three-layered security net” as Beijing ramped up its oppression and “united front” tactics against Taiwan, and the amendment was based on the third layer of the security net: Reinforce democratic scrutiny of cross-strait political negotiations, he said.

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