With 10 days remaining before the Nov. 29 elections, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday focused on the possible impacts to the nation of a free-trade agreement (FTA) between China and South Korea.
Ma demanded the KMT mayoral and commissioner candidates from the 11 cities and counties whose industries might be affected by the impending free-trade pact to push their Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) rivals to promise that they would support the passage of the cross-strait service trade agreement, the legislation of an oversight mechanism for cross-strait agreements and a draft bill governing the establishment of free economic pilot zones.
If the promises are not made, it would mean that the DPP candidates are ignoring the chance to increase job opportunities and secure pay increases for Taiwanese in their areas, Ma said.
The 11 cities and counties referenced by Ma include Greater Kaohsiung, Greater Tainan, Greater Taichung, Taoyuan, Hsinchu, Changhua, Pingtung, Miaoli, Yunlin and New Taipei City.
Ma called for the DPP’s attention to the issue in an emotional tone rarely heard from him.
“Political factors outside Taiwan have already made it difficult for us [to sign FTAs]. Are we to continue this internal fight against each other? We are asking the opposing party if they are so cruel that they want to continue political infighting. Do you want Taiwan to continue to lag behind? Do you want industries in those cities and counties to suffer the impacts, lose job opportunities and have salaries stagnate? This does not show love for Taiwan; it is harmful,” he said.
Minister of Economic Affairs Woody Duh (杜紫軍) was invited to do a presentation at the KMT Central Standing Committee meeting on the impact of the China-South Korea FTA on Taiwan and the country’s response measures. Ma said that the committee had arranged the presentation 10 days before the election for a reason.
Some would think the global economic issue is the central government’s responsibility and irrelevant for local authorities, but “that is wrong,” Ma said.
What would be significantly impacted are local industries, and there are a total of 11 cities and counties, mainly those in central and southern Taiwan, that would be most affected, he said.
“You can’t expect South Korea to run slowly when you lie flat and don’t move an inch,” he said.
DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday countered that Ma was being irresponsible by blaming the opposition party for the nation’s failure to sign free-trade agreements.
“Ma should acknowledge that it’s already the seventh year of his presidency, and it’s not his first day handling the FTA issue,” Tsai said during a campaign event in Taoyuan. “He should realize that people are worried that national interests might be harmed before any benefits are received from FTAs, due to the government’s lack of transparency and communication with the public — there are even problems with our negotiator.”
Tsai added that talks on trade agreements have been stalled because of the public’s reaction to Ma’s handling and attitude in pushing for trade agreements, “and it’s irresponsible to blame everything on the opposition party.”
“The KMT is in power, it holds a majority in the legislature. They’re having problems because the people do not trust them,” Tsai added.
FATAL FIRE: The health department is trying to contact the inspector who visited the site of the illegal nursing home to ask why they did not advise follow-up checks The Taipei City Government yesterday said that a health department inspector last year had visited the site of a long-term care facility in Neihu District (內湖) after receiving a report questioning its status. A fire broke out at the facility on Tuesday afternoon, killing three people. The Taipei Fire Department said that it received a report about a fire on the first floor of a four-story residential building on Kangning Road Sec. 1 at 2:38pm on Tuesday, firefighters arrived at 2:43pm and the fire was put out by 3:07pm. The firefighters found three men in beds and rushed them to hospital for
Taipei City Councilor Wang Hao (王浩) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) on Monday called for security improvements to the MRT, as fare evasion has increased more than 13-fold on the metropolitan railway system over the past five years. Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) has spoken out against fare evasion and other contraventions of MRT regulations, but since he took office in 2015 the number of contraventions has more than doubled, Wang said, adding that there were 537 cases in 2015 compared with 959 last year. A video was posted to YouTube in June showing people how to evade paying a fare,
FEELING MISUNDERSTOOD: Media speculation has fueled confusion about the KMT’s reasons for skipping a Chinese forum and delaying an AIT meeting, party sources said The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) on Sunday said that it is not seeking to improve relations with the US or China at the expense of the other, and that its relations with the countries would be topic-based. The party has faced questions over its foreign policy after it on Monday last week announced its withdrawal from the annual Straits Forum and delayed planned talks with the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT). The party has also taken a tough stance on the importation of US meat containing ractopamine, while also lambasting China for increasing its military activity in and around the Taiwan Strait. Following
Yuchi Township (魚池) fishers have appealed to the Nantou County Government for help in dealing with an invasive fish species in Sun Moon Lake (日月潭), where it has devastated the local ecosystem. Fishers at Sun Moon Lake have been using electrofishing in an attempt to eliminate the giant snakehead fish — found in Africa and Southeast Asia — but they have struggled to keep up with the growing population of the species, which breeds during September and October, the county government said on Monday. The county has contacted researchers at National Tsing Hua University, saying it hoped they could come up