The leaders of student protesters occupying the legislative chamber and civic group representatives yesterday agreed to meet with President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) without preconditions, as they called for lawmakers’ support for the passage of an act on the oversight of cross-strait agreements.
The protesters made the statement in response to remarks by Presidential Office spokesperson Lee Chia-fei (李佳霏), who said that Ma is willing to meet with representatives of protesting students “without any preconditions” to help end the standoff over the cross-strait trade agreement and allow the legislature to get back on track.
Lee said Ma is willing to invite representatives of the protesters to the Presidential Office in Taipei to discuss the pact and listen to their views if it will help end the student-led occupation of the legislature that began on Tuesday last week.
Photo: Chang Chia-ming, Taipei Times
Lin Fei-fan (林飛帆), a National Taiwan University graduate student and one of the student leaders, said the protesters agreed to have a conversation with Ma without preconditions and proposed two questions that have attracted wide attention for the potential discussion between the two sides.
“The first question is whether there is a need for the institutionalization of the supervision of cross-strait agreements, and the second is whether such a supervision mechanism needs to be in place before reviewing the cross-strait service trade agreement,” Lin said.
Lin added that the students are willing to converse with Ma “in a public setting” and to discuss “in concrete terms” the questions mentioned.
“By the time we get there to have the conversation, we will not want to take extra time to give him a lecture,” Lin said.
Another student leader, Chen Wei-ting (陳為廷), a graduate student at National Tsing Hua University, said that the conversation should not be a private one that can be heard only by the representatives, but one that is open to public witness.
The protest leaders and civil group representatives said that the minutes of the latest legislative meeting on March 17, made public yesterday, showed that the review of the trade pact, which according to Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers has been completed, was not documented.
It means that the issue has been returned to the legislature’s Internal Administrative Committee pending further discussion, the group said.
“We ask the government not to hold any negotiations with the Chinese government until the institutionalization of the supervision of cross-strait agreements. The trade pact must be returned to the Executive Yuan until such institutionalization is completed,” Chen said.
The group called on legislators to promise to respond to their three requests.
“Our first request is that the legalization of a ‘cross-strait agreement oversight act’ be initiated during this legislative plenary session. The second is that any reviews of cross-strait agreements be held off until legislation is finalized. And finally, that the bill be placed on the legislature’s Procedure Committee agenda,” Chen said.
Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌), a research fellow at Academia Sinica, said that the call is “aimed at each legislator rather than only at the party caucus.”
While some, mainly the media, have been asking what the protesters’ “exit strategy” is, Lin said: “It is president Ma who needs to have an ‘exit strategy.’”
Additional reporting by CNA
‘HERO OF THE ERA’: President Tsai Ing-wen expressed deep sadness at Lee’s passing, and told the government to assist his family with all their needs Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) passed away at 7:24pm yesterday at Taipei Veterans General Hospital. He was 97 years old. The hospital stated the cause of death as septic shock and multiple organ failure. Lee had been hospitalized there since February, when he choked on a mouthful of milk at home. He was later diagnosed with pulmonary infiltrates and aspiration pneumonia. The hospital said that Lee had been treated with antibiotics, but that his health had not improved, as his advanced age and diabetes had inhibited his immune system and led to recurring infections. During his hospitalization, Lee underwent daily kidney dialysis, which removed
‘WEAK POSITIVE’: The man arrived in Taiwan in May and was quarantined for two weeks, Chen Shih-chung said, adding that he might be infected a long time ago The government is considering tightening mask-wearing rules again in light of a potential domestic COVID-19 infection, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said yesterday. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) confirmed seven new COVID-19 cases, six of which are imported. The other case involves a Belgian engineer who entered Taiwan on May 3 and remained in quarantine until May 17, said Chen, who heads the CECC. Although the source of infection has yet to be identified, the case could end the nation’s record of not having any domestic cases in the previous 110 days. The Belgian, in his 20s, is a technician
RECEIVING TREATMENT: President Tsai Ing-wen, Vice President William Lai and Premier Su Tseng-chang visited former president Lee Teng-hui yesterday morning Taipei Veterans General Hospital yesterday rebutted speculation that former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) had died a day earlier, saying that he was weak, but receiving treatment. The hospital said the 97-year-old Lee was not in good condition and needed ongoing care, adding that if there are any changes in his condition, it would make those public. The comments came after rumors emerged online on Tuesday that Lee had died after being hospitalized since early February. Soon after the unsubstantiated rumors emerged, reporters started flocking to the hospital seeking confirmation. Lee was admitted to Taipei Veterans General Hospital on Feb. 8 after choking while drinking
THAI CASE UPDATE: Twenty-nine close contacts of the worker have been tested with two types of tests, including 18 dorm mates, with 28 negative results so far Five imported cases of COVID-19, four from the Philippines and one from Hong Kong, were reported yesterday, bringing the total confirmed cases in Taiwan to 467, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday. The four returning from the Philippines were on the same flight, and the local health department has identified 15 people who had direct contact with them — including 10 passengers in the two rows in front or behind them, who have been put under 14-day home isolation, and five crew members, who will practice 14-day self-health management, said Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang