Fri, Dec 23, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Ma, Soong reach consensus in second meeting

THREE ISSUES The two pan-blue leaders said they have decided to cooperate on the Cabinet, the arms bill and the Control Yuan nomination procedure

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

Two boys watch as Chinese Nationalist Party Chairman Ma Ying-jeou, right, and People First Party Chairman James Soong answer questions from the press after their second meeting to discuss pan-blue cooperation yesterday.

PHOTO: SEAN CHAO, TAIPEI TIMES

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and his People First Party (PFP) counterpart James Soong (宋楚瑜) held their second meeting yesterday during which they reached consensus on issues including the Cabinet, the arms procurement bill and the president's nominees for the Control Yuan.

Each of the three items require strong pan-blue cooperation, they said after emerging from the behind-closed-doors meeting.

During the one-and-a-half-hour discussion, the two chairmen agreed that cooperation was the priority concerning the Cabinet, and insisted on a "reasonable" arms procurement bill and a "fair and transparent" nomination system for the Control Yuan committee.

After the meeting, Ma said, "The KMT's position on the Cabinet issue, to which Chairman Soong agreed, is to talk about the system of cooperation and its principles first, then we can discuss the matter of personnel [with the government]."

"We don't agree on the head-hunting style being used by the government, and hope that it will stop such behavior," he added.

While uttering similar thoughts that finding a pan-blue premier would be a waste of time without first holding honest cross-party negotiations, Soong urged the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government to put more effort into cross-strait relations.

"Rather than talking about political cooperation [between the ruling and opposition parties] in the legislature, it's more important to stabilize our cross-strait policy," he said.

The two also stayed firm on their opposition to what they called the "Dollar Arms Procurement Bill," which Soong said was unreasonable in price and procedure.

"It's unreasonable in price because we need to pay NT$1 billion (US$30 million) while others paid only NT$300 million, and its unreasonable in procedure because it's unnecessary to list the purchase as a special budget," he said.

Ma said that since Taiwan was not being pressured by the US, the party will not exclude the possibility of choosing weapons other than the three systems currently offered by the US.

While reaching an agreement on principle, Soong said the two party's caucuses will be left to decide on practical and procedural matters.

Finally, citing the example of the nominations for the National Communications Committee (NCC), the two said the nomination procedure for the Control Yuan committee members should be as strict and as transparent.

"The Control Yuan is responsible for monitoring the government's discipline, but the current nomination procedure is problematic... Only with a transparent nomination mechanism can we have a politically independent Control Yuan," Ma said.

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