Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) yesterday brushed aside concerns voiced by protesters about the cross-strait service trade agreement as he demanded that Cabinet members push ahead with the pact, saying it will bring the nation more advantages than disadvantages.
“Not only do its advantages outweigh the disadvantages, it is also crucial to the future of our economic development, which is what a responsible person must bravely do,” Jiang said in his address at the weekly Cabinet meeting as the protests that began on Tuesday outside and inside the Legislative Yuan continued.
Jiang made three demands of Cabinet members.
Photo: David Chang, EPA
The “first and foremost priority for” each government agency is to have the trade pact endorsed by the legislature before its current session ends in June, he said.
He urged the necessary agencies to communicate more effectively with the public to boost the support base for the trade pact to beyond the current 60 percent.
He asked the National Police Agency to take the appropriate measures necessary to assist the Legislative Yuan in a rapid resumption of order in the complex, without provoking serious clashes with protesters or inconveniencing lawmakers.
Given the controversy over the trade pact, each government agency must remain steadfast, showing the public how the government is continuing to work on policies to benefit the nation and its people, and show them the direction the nation is taking, Jiang said.
The concerns voiced by the protesters that the negotiations leading to the trade pact were opaque and the pact’s terms of trade would hurt the interests of Taiwan were “unnecessary,” he said.
The protesters’ perceptions of the pact were based on “groundless rumors” and “defamation,” Jiang said, blaming “certain media” for their “incorrect” coverage of how the pact would affect the country.
The government has completed all the preparations to liberalize the sectors covered under the pact since it was signed in June last year, Jiang said.
The policies and measures needed to assist local industries, such as laundries, hair salons, beauty centers and Chinese medicine dealers in upgrading their quality so they can become more competitive are ready for implementation, he said.
After months of effort, the associations of those industries that might suffer adverse effects after the pact is implemented have gradually come around to support the agreement, Jiang said.
The “certain political and social groups” behind the protesters should not try to use the situation for their own political gains because it would only damage the nation’s democratic system.
Meanwhile, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus whip Lin Hung-chih (林鴻池) said the protesters’ occupation of the legislature’s chamber was apparently “instigated” by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and other “ill-intentioned people” and that the KMT would never give in to their ultimatum.
“Democratic politics means that people make rational appeals by legal means. Democracy without the rule of law is nothing but chaos,” Lin said.
The presence of several DPP lawmakers inside and outside the legislature and the repeated calls by senior members of the party for the public to join the siege of the Legislative Yuan proved that the DPP was responsible for inciting the students to seize the chamber.
“The student occupation is tantamount to trampling on [the dignity of] the legislature and the people of Taiwan,” Lin said.
The DPP should not sacrifice the public’s general interest for its own self-interests, he said.
The protesters have issued an ultimatum, demanding that President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration respond to their demands by noon today.
The demands include the suspension of all interaction with China until the legislature passes a law to monitor cross-strait agreements and the reversal of KMT Legislator Chang Ching-chung’s (張慶忠) decision on Monday during the service trade pact review meeting to send the agreement directly to a second reading without a clause-by-clause review.
DIPLOMATIC MOVES: Beijing is reportedly pressing the state after reports of forming links with Taiwan, while the ministry is also planning to reopen its office in Guam soon A representative office is set to open in Somaliland at the end of this month, at the earliest, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday amid reports that Beijing is sending a diplomatic delegation to the east African country. The ministry on July 1 announced that Taiwan and Somaliland would establish representative offices, following a report by the Somaliland Chronicle Web site. It said at the time that the two nations did not plan to establish formal ties. Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi has instructed close confidants to explore the possibility of “mutual recognition between Taiwan and Somaliland,” the Somaliland Chronicle reported
‘IMMORAL, INSINCERE’: Huang Kun-huei said that Ma was ‘distorting history’ in claiming that Lee Teng-hui laid the foundation for the so-called ‘1992 consensus’ Former Presidential Office secretary-general Huang Kun-huei (黃昆輝) on Saturday rejected former president Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) claim that former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) had been a proponent of Beijing’s “one China” principle. Lee, who served as president from 1988 to 2000, died in Taipei on Thursday last week. After visiting the Taipei Guest House on Saturday to pay his respects to Lee, Ma posted on Facebook that “28 years ago on this day” Lee hosted a session of the now-defunct National Unification Council, during which he passed a resolution on the “one China” principle. That resolution became the basis of the Chinese Nationalist Party’s
NEW ERA: Taiwan, which has controlled its virus outbreak, now faces the challenge of safely resuming economic exchanges with other nations, Chang Shan-chwen said People should not focus entirely on having zero new confirmed COVID-19 cases in Taiwan, but neglect overall control over the disease situation, Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) specialist advisory panel convener Chang Shan-chwen (張上淳) said yesterday. Chang made the remark at a forum in Taipei discussing the steps Taiwan should take in the post-pandemic era, organized by the Chinese-language magazine Global Views Monthly. Chang, Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Director-General Chou Jih-haw (周志浩), and Stanford University’s Center for Policy, Outcomes and Prevention director C. Jason Wang (王智弘) each made a presentation, followed by a panel discussion with Chang, Wang and Buddhist Tzu
A Belgian man who tested positive for COVID-19 in Taiwan last week is likely to have contracted the disease in Taipei in late June, National Taiwan University (NTU) College of Public Health vice dean Tony Chen (陳秀熙) said yesterday. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Saturday reported that the man, who is in his 20s, came to Taiwan for work on May 3 and tested positive on Wednesday last week as he was about to depart. The man in March reported loss of taste and smell, the center said, adding that he worked in Changhua County, but visited Taipei several times,