Wed, Jan 12, 2005 - Page 3 News List

DPP assists its rival PFP in getting bill heard in committee

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

KMT legislators John Chang, left, Tseng Yung-chuan, second right, and Chu Feng-chih, right, yesterday pay a visit to the Mainland Affiars Council (MAC) and exchange views with MAC Vice Chairman Johnnason Liu, second left, on the issue of the cross-strait charter flights for the Lunar New Year after unofficial negotiations between the KMT delegation and Beijing.

PHOTO: GEORGE TSORNG, TAIPEI TIMES

With the help of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), the People First Party (PFP) yesterday successfully managed to include the "direct transportation clause" in the legislature's Procedure Committee, paving the way for future cooperation between the two political rivals.

Commenting on the unprecedented collaboration, DPP legislative whip Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯) said that the DPP caucus was happy to endorse the draft amendments to the Statute Governing the 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) proposed by the PFP based on their stance of reconciling and cooperating with opposition parties.

"For the sake of friendly cooperation and reconciliation, we support the draft amendments to the cross-strait rule proposed by the PFP, and agree that the draft should be included in the legislative agenda and passed it to committees for review," he said.

SENSITIVE ISSUES

Although direct transportation links with China involve sensitive issues of national security, and the DPP government would like to see the Mainland Affairs Council present a well-thought-out draft to the legislature for consideration, Tsai said that the DPP caucus was willing to support the draft measure proposed by the PFP yesterday because they found it acceptable.

Tsai added that the caucus does not rule out the possibility that the legal overhaul would be passed into law before the current session ends on Jan. 21, if the cooperation between the two parties works smoothly.

Under the PFP's draft amendments, the nation's ships, aircraft and other forms of transportation could go to China without first obtaining permission from the government.

Currently, Taiwanese ships and aircraft must obtain the government's permission to enter Chinese territorial waters or airspace, and so must Chinese vessels and aircraft to enter Taiwan's restricted territorial waters or airspace.

The draft also seeks to abolish an article banning foreign vessels, aircraft and other forms of transportation from traveling directly across the Strait.

The current rule also applies to vehicles rented, invested in or managed by Chinese individuals or institutions.

ARMS BUDGET

Despite the DPP's support for the PFP's draft amendments, the PFP yesterday teamed up with its ally, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), and independent lawmakers to vote down requests to include the NT$610.8 billion military procurement bill and budget in the legislative agenda.

The request for the legislature to review Control Yuan member nominations was also rejected by the pan-blue camp again.

Nineteen out of the 32 lawmakers present at the committee meeting voted in favor of a proposal filed by PFP Legislator Lu Hsueh-chang (呂學樟), who proposed to put the two matters on hold.

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