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High-profile Taiwan's ECFA debate in spotlight
Central News Agency
2010-04-25 02:40 PM
A first-ever policy debate between a president and an opposition leader in Taiwan's history will be held this afternoon. It is not only drawing wide attention at home but also from foreign observers concerned about the Asia Pacific region.

Neither President Ma Ying-jeou nor opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen dares to overlook the debate on whether Taiwan should sign a wide-reaching trade pact with China as it could influence their leadership authority and political stature.

While the Ma administration is preaching the need to strike an economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA) with China to protect Taiwan from being marginalized amid mounting regional economic integration, the DPP-led opposition camp strongly opposes the bid out of concern that Taiwan's sovereignty could be at stake.

The following are excerpts from local media coverage on the issue: China Times: Public Television Service (PTS) , the host of the high-profile event, conducted a rehearsal for the debate Saturday. Aides from both sides showed up at the PTS studio to finalize the procedures.

Ma and Tsai were reportedly cautiously finalizing the lists of guests to be invited to Sunday's televised debate, as the invitations would hint at their positions on the ECFA deal.

Ma's spokesman Lo Chih-chiang said the Presidential Office will invite a wide range of representatives, such as farmers, laborers, white-collar workers and scholars to attend, because the ECFA is a matter concerning the entire country. Some Presidential Office staffers will also be present, but only Premier Wu Den-yih will attend the event, with all other Cabinet members absent on the guest list.

DPP spokesman Tsai Chi-chang said the party will invite representatives from underprivileged groups and conventional industries that are most likely to be affected by the trade pact.

(April 25, 2010).

United Daily News: In his weekly video address Saturday, Ma vowed to forge ahead the ECFA, saying the administration will definitely sign the proposed trade accord because it is conducive to Taiwan and its people.

Presidential Office sources said Ma called off all other public activities for the weekend in preparation for the debate and that he has been coached by his team of advisers and aides, headed by Vice President Vincent Siew.

On the other hand, DPP spokesman Tsai Chi-chang said Tsai Ing-wen was maintaining her usual daily routine Saturday, except that she would go to bed early to get plenty of sleep ahead of Sunday's debate.

Given the emphasis both sides are putting on the event, political analysts said the debate seems to be an opener for the 2012 presidential election. (April 25, 2010).

Liberty Times: Ma will expound in detail in the debate the need for Taiwan to adopt an open-door policy and the possible grave consequences if Taiwan continued a closed-door policy implemented by the previous DPP administration.

For her part, Tsai will articluate DPP's strategies for Taiwan to connect with the world rather than putting Taiwan increasingly reliant on China.

(By Sofia Wu)



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