Thu, Apr 02, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Legislature not against AIIB bid

BLACK-BOX CHARGES:The KMT caucus said that protesters’ accusations that the bid was secretive were over-politicizing the matter, as Beijing had not responded yet

By Alison Hsiao  /  Staff reporter

Premier Mao Chi-kuo, left, and Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng shake hands at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Wang Min-wei, Taipei Times

Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) yesterday said that “no legislative caucus is opposed to the nation’s intention to join China’s proposed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank [AIIB].”

However, he also added in comments made after a closed-door meeting with Executive Yuan officials and legislative caucus representatives across party lines that there would be no entering the bank “if national dignity is not maintained.”

Premier Mao Chi-kuo (毛治國) and ministers involved in the handling of the bid to join the bank visited the Legislative Yuan, meeting Wang and the opposition parties’ caucus whips to discuss the bid.

The move to has been met with suspicion from opposition lawmakers and sparked protests late on Tuesday night.

Wang told a press conference after the meeting that none of the caucuses are against the idea of applying for membership to the Beijing-based institution, adding that communication between the two branches of government, such as yesterday’s meeting, is encouraged and would be initiated more often to build a better political culture.

Wang said that the Executive Yuan officials visited the legislature to respond to the caucuses’ misgivings about the government’s bid, and each caucus had expressed its views on how lawmakers could make sure national dignity is retained and that the responsibility to oversee the government is maintained.

“We also agreed that we would rather give up on the bid if the terms are not in the nation’s best interests or [participation] would damage national dignity,” Wang said.

Mao said there are “many international precedents when it comes to the question about an appropriate name, and that is what we need to continue to negotiate in the future,” when asked by reporters what name the nation’s application might be made under.

“What needs to be confirmed first is whether we are to be accepted as a member,” the premier said.

“The name would be discussed only after we have become a member and at the stage when the articles of the organization are laid out,” he added.

When asked whether Taiwan would join as “Chinese Taipei,” as it is commonly called in international organizations that it participates in, including the Olympics, Mao said: “I would say it is only one of the options.”

Wang said that government officials would attend and report on the bid to the legislature’s Foreign and National Defense Committee meeting today, “where lawmakers have the chance to examine the bid and work on inter-yuan cooperation.”

Separately yesterday, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus held its own press conference after the meeting with Executive Yuan officials and caucus whips, at which it addressed accusations made by protesters that the bid to join the bank had been done in secret in the same way as the cross-strait service trade agreement was signed.

The KMT caucus panned accusations of the bid being the result of a “black-box” decision, saying the comments were “over-politicizing” the matter.

“We do not even know if Beijing will allow us to join, yet already there is this internal divide,” KMT deputy caucus whip Liao Kuo-tung (廖國棟) said.

“I do not understand where in the process that [Democratic Progressive Party Chairperson] Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) found the application process to be a ‘black-box’ decision,” Liao said.

“This is completely different from how the cross-strait service trade agreement was done, which only came back [to the legislature] after it had proceeded to the very end [of its negotiations],” KMT caucus whip Lai Shyh-bao (賴士葆) said.

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