Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) yesterday denied that he had received a direct telephone call from Beijing over the screening of the cross-strait service trade pact in the legislature, but confirmed lobbying from “a third party.”
Wang was asked about the alleged call on the first day of the new legislative session yesterday after Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) Legislator Hsu Chung-hsin (許忠信) told a press conference on Monday that the Chinese authorities had expressed concerns about the agreement to Wang in a telephone conversation.
“I did not receive any telephone call from people across the strait. [Beijing] did try to express its concerns and position on the issue, but it was someone else relaying the message to me. I have never gotten such telephone calls from Beijing,” Wang told reporters at noon.
Responding to a media inquiry about who relayed the message and its content, Wang declined to reveal the identity of the person.
“I cannot tell you who the person is. Anyway, all I can say is that there were people relaying the message,” Wang said.
The speaker said that Beijing’s concerns would not affect the screening of or voting on the service trade agreement — a process required by a legislative resolution before the pact goes into effect.
The agreement, which was signed in June, has been controversial. Some object to the opaque nature of the negotiations and the large impact it will have on small businesses and employment in the service sector in Taiwan.
Wang, a seasoned politician and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) member, was thought to be “passive” on pushing the pact through the legislature, which could be one of the main reasons why President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) allegedly tried to remove him from his position as legislative speaker at the start of the current KMT infighting.