Fri, May 26, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Links compromise will make or break session

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) legislative caucus said yesterday that it would bring the legislative session to an end on Tuesday if the ruling party did not agree to pass an amendment on direct trade links with China.

“We will propose a motion to adjourn the session if the pan-green camp still blocks the amendment from being reviewed on Tuesday,” said Tseng Yung-chuan, the KMT policy coordination department’s executive director.

Tseng made the remarks during yesterday’s cross-party negotiations, after discussions about an amendment to the Statute Governing the Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area broke down.

The amendment, known as the “direct links amendment,” was proposed by People First Party legislators, who suggest removing the requirement for government authorization when Taiwanese aircraft or boats travel directly to China.

A sticking point in the debate over the amendment is how to define transportation routes between China and Taiwan: as domestic or international.

The pan-green parties oppose any term that would not define China and Taiwan as two separate states.

The KMT caucus, however, has proposed a compromise. The KMT wants to use the phrase “cross-strait routes” to sidestep the dispute over sovereignty. But Taiwan Solidarity Union caucus whip David Huang said that the caucus strongly opposes the compromise.

“We will fight against the use of ‘cross-strait routes’ to the end, as it implies that Taiwan is part of China’s territory under the premise of the statute, which assumes the eventual unification of China and Taiwan,” Huang said.

Huang also criticized KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou for writing the definition into the article during the last moments of negotiation.

One of the main goals of the pan-blues with the amendment is to remove the requirement that the government must permit Taiwanese aircraft and boats to travel to China, which the pan-greens said would undermine the government’s authority and ability to set cross-strait policy.

Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng yesterday suggested removing the amendment from today’s agenda on the legislative floor until next Tuesday, in the hope of reaching a consensus on the amendment and allowing the legislative session to be extended to review other bills.

“I will propose a motion to extend the session on Tuesday,” Wang said.

The failure to extend the session would leave the arms procurement budget bill, a state-run enterprises budget bill, a flood control special budget bill, and the review of the president’s nominations for state public prosecutor-general and Control Yuan members stalled until the next legislative session.

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