Thu, May 18, 2006 - Page 3 News List

PFP lawmaker signs on to Tsai's direct links plan

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

The government yesterday made some progress in gaining support from the People First Party (PFP), whose legislators have firmly backed an amendment that would deprive the government of the authority to issue permits for direct links.

The progress was made after Vice Premier Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and Mainland Affairs Council officials met with Lu Hsueh-chang (呂學樟), a PFP caucus whip, at the legislature.

Lu signed a motion Tsai came up with that revised the PFP's initial proposal, which said that any vessels, aircraft or other means of transportation from the Republic of China could sail or fly to China in accordance with related laws.

The second part of the PFP motion said that related regulations were to be drafted by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications and other authorities and submitted to the Executive Yuan for approval within six months after the amendment was adopted.

Tsai's motion preserves the spirit of existing regulations -- which require Taiwanese vessels or aircraft to seek the government's permission to fly or sail to China -- that the PFP wanted to eliminate in order to facilitate direct links with China. As such, Lu's endorsement of her proposal was regarded as a concession.

Lu said that he wouldn't say it was a concession as the words "with the permission of the competent authorities" in the existing regulation would be removed.

"Although I agreed with [Tsai's motion], it still needs to be approved by other PFP members. We will talk about it in the coming days," Lu said.

The PFP motion was proposed to amend the 28th clause of the Statute Governing the Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (兩岸人民關係條例). The pan-green camp blocked the motion from review on Friday and Tuesday.

Tsai said she hoped Lu's approval of her proposal might facilitate the amendment's passage, but PFP whip Lee Hung-chun (李鴻鈞) said he would insist on retaining the PFP's original version.

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