Thu, May 25, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Ma pushes talks with pan-greens on transport bill

RESISTANCEWhile some KMT lawmakers yesterday suggested organizing public protests to force through a bill on transport links with China, the party chairman urged dialogue

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

Cautioning fellow party members against taking irrational measures, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday urged his party caucus to expedite negotiations with the pan-green camp over a cross-strait transport links bill before the proposed legislation is tabled for legislative review a third time tomorrow.

The pan-green camp has twice blocked the pan-blues' proposed amendments to the Statute Governing the Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (兩岸人民關係條例), which would see all restrictions on cross-strait transport lifted three months after the amendments become law.


Facing possible resistance from the pan-green camp tomorrow, the KMT central standing committee yesterday discussed possible solutions, with some party members suggesting public protests to get the bill passed in the legislature.

"To get the bill passed, I'd support mobilizing people to block the Legislative Yuan. It's not a time to talk about politeness when dealing with a barbaric government," KMT Legislator Yao Chiang-lin (姚江臨) said at the committee meeting.

Ma rejected Yao's proposal.

"It's not that we are weak, because we wouldn't lose a fist fight in the legislature. But people may ask, `What can you do except for fighting and making promises?' The KMT doesn't want to give people the wrong impression," Ma said.

Ma said that the party should respect the rights of the executive branch to carry out the law, and promised that the party would give the government time to make any necessary modifications to the amendment before it is implemented.

"But we need to push for the passage of the amendment so that it can be put into practice," he said.

"If we don't do that, we'll have to wait at least two years before pushing for direct links, once the KMT regains power," Ma added.

KMT Legislator Lai Shyh-bao (賴士葆) suggested that the party might establish a cross-strait economic exchange team to continue the efforts to push for direct links.

Tseng Yung-chuan (曾永權), executive director of the KMT's Central Policy Committee, said that even if the caucus had already sent out mobilization orders, the chance that the bill would be passed in the legislature would be slim without negotiations.

No more news

Meanwhile, the committee also decided to close the Central Daily News, a KMT-owned Chinese-language newspaper established in 1951.

According to KMT Spokeswoman Cheng Li-wen (鄭麗文), the newspaper carried a debt of more than NT$47 million (US$1.5 million) at the end of April, and was showing an average monthly loss of NT$8.4 million.

The newspaper will cease operations at the end of this month. Cheng said that the party would be happy to see the newspaper resume operations if a buyer could be found.

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