TRADE PACT SIEGE: Another round of inter-party talks on crisis breaks down

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Tue, Apr 01, 2014 - Page 3

The fifth round of inter-party negotiations regarding a political deadlock related to the student-led occupation of the legislature broke down yesterday as party caucuses failed to reach consensus on how to resolve the ongoing crisis.

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) said it would participate in a review of the cross-strait service trade agreement clause-by-clause under two conditions, KMT caucus deputy secretary Alex Fai (費鴻泰) said after the talks, which were held at the home of Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平).

The KMT demanded that the joint review committee meeting be convened by Wang and that the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) not occupy the podium during the proceedings, Fai said.

The DPP, which previously said it would boycott the negotiations, attended the talks with a clear position — the same as that of the “Sunflower student movement” — that the pact must be reviewed, but only after the legislation of a monitoring mechanism for cross-strait agreements, DPP caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) said.

“That means the pact is not likely to be reviewed before the current legislative session concludes in May,” Ker said.

Ker added that if the KMT agreed to the “legislation first, review second” approach and to not demand that its lawmakers vote along party lines, the crisis could be resolved and the students would leave the legislative chamber.

As the Executive Yuan is ready to pass its draft proposal of a cross-strait agreement monitoring mechanism, Ker said the DPP would examine whether the proposal meets public expectations before deciding whether it would attend the next round of negotiations.

DPP Legislator Gao Jyh-peng (高志鵬) said the negotiations fell through again because the KMT has failed to update its proposal after the rally of an estimated 500,000 members of the public and students on Sunday, and President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who also serves as KMT chairman, should take full responsibility.