Taipei, March 22 (CNA) Opposing any kind of cooperation with China
for the sake of opposition will hurt Taiwan's competitiveness on its path toward joining international free-trade blocs, Premier Jiang Yi-huah said Saturday after he met with students-led protest
ers currently occupying the parliament. The services trade agreement Taiwan and China
signed last year will help create some 12,000 job opportunities, which could strengthen Taiwan's economy, Jiang said at a press conference at the Executive Yuan, after he and the protest
ers failed to reach any common ground on the issue of the trade pact. During the meeting, Jiang rejected the demonstrators' demand that the agreement be scrapped. The Executive Yuan has no intention of doing so, he said. Jiang also urged the students to end their protest
action, stressing that he cannot condone the trespassing and vandalism seen in past few days. "The Legislature is not a place where you can come and go as you please," he said. Jiang said, however, that he is confident Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng will take action to help restore order in the Legislature at the right time. Regarding the protest
ers'appeal for a bill to mandate monitoring of cross-strait agreements, Jiang said such mechanism is already in place. He explained that the ruling Kuomintang's legislative caucus has come up with a four-phase communication mechanism to check the Executive Yuan's processing of future cross-strait agreements. This will allow the Legislature to gain a better understanding of the pacts at every stage of the process, before during and after the negotiations, he said.
Meanwhile, Education Minister Chiang Wei-ling urged the students to go back to school, try to scrutinize issues thoroughly and learn to tolerate varying opinions. The protesters must understand that although they are students, they need to behave like responsible adults and avoid actions that might be in contravention of the law, he said. (By Lee Hsin-Yin)