Mon, Apr 21, 2014 - Page 3 News List

INTERVIEW: Sunflowers movement is a ‘wake-up call’

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporter

Stanton said he “never bought the arguments” that the US cannot move forward with its trade relations with Taiwan unless Taiwan signs an agreement with China or that pressure from China would force the US to block Taiwan’s bid to join the TPP talks.

“That’s inconceivable to me,” Stanton said.

Stanton said he does not see any direct or even indirect connection between what Taiwan does in trade with China and what the US would do to facilitate its trade relations with Taiwan or to support the nation’s joining TPP talks.

Taiwan ought to be in the TPP negotiations because it is an important trading partner and friend of the US, Stanton said, adding that the US “should be more encouraging.”

If Taiwan has expanded trade relations with other countries, there might be less anxiety about this cross-strait service trade agreement, “because no one wants to feel that they just have one trading partner,” Stanton said.

The Sunflower movement’s call for the legislature to establish an oversight mechanism on cross-strait negotiations before it reviews the service trade agreement with China has raised concern among officials, who say that it would create uncertainty for other trading partners if a signed trade agreement fails to be ratified by the legislature.

Stanton dismissed the concern, saying that “legislative objection and legislative issues are normal.”

“Every county has a legislative procedural. Legislative approval for most countries is an issue. It’s not unique to Taiwan. It’s not like in every country, [the government] sings an agreement and it gets the rubber stamp [from its legislature],” Stanton said.

China has rejected the possibility that the service trade agreement be renegotiated on grounds that there is no precedent for reopening negotiations on a signed agreement.

To that argument, Stanton said this is because in China, there is no legislature that would block anything, “but that’s not how Taiwan necessarily was supposed to operate. It certainly doesn’t work that way in the US.”

Stanton, who participated in student protests against the Vietnam War when he was a graduate student, said the demonstrations in the US were partly responsible for helping the US speed up withdrawal from Vietnam, adding that civil disobedience was also an important part of bringing equal rights to African Americans.

Some people have said that the students’ occupation of the legislative was “undemocratic,” but “it’s long been a tradition in the US and many countries, that people stage civil disobedience protests and civil resistance trying to speak out when they feel they are not being heard,” Stanton said, adding that the protests in Taiwan were “peaceful and rational.”

“I think it’s a good thing when you see the students actually being passionate about a wider and broader issue, and they criticize,” Stanton said.

This story has been viewed 9503 times.

Comments will be moderated. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned.

TOP top