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Dialogue with students can be aired in public: president
Central News Agency
2014-03-26 11:24 PM
Taipei, March 26 (CNA) President Ma Ying-jeou said Wednesday he is willing to discuss a controversial cross-Taiwan Strait trade-in-services pact with student representatives and agreed that the process could be broadcast live. Speaking at a meeting of the ruling Kuomintang's Central Standing Committee (CSC), Ma also voiced the hope that the pact can be reviewed by lawmakers line by line as soon as possible. According to a participant at the meeting, some committee members suggested that the president directly exchange views with college students on campuses instead of meeting representatives of the students who have occupied the main chamber of the Legislative Yuan since March 18. Committee members also worried that some of the protesters have close links to the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and suggested they were politically motivated to initiate the protests following clashes between KMT and DPP lawmakers when they tried to review the pact on March 17, the source said. The president responded that he was willing to meet student representatives and discuss the pact in public to provide clear explanations to doubts surrounding the agreement and end the dispute, clearing the way for a line-by-line review to proceed, the source said. Hundreds of protesters, mostly college students, continue to occupy the Legislature, and they have demanded a dialogue with the president to publicly discuss the services pact, which they contend was reached without sufficient transparency. Ma agreed to a meeting late Tuesday, but the protesters temporarily turned down the offer, claiming that the president had not shown "enough good will." The protesters, meanwhile, said they will respond to the president's dialogue offer Thursday as they launched a petition drive demanding that a law be drawn up to monitor the future signing of cross-strait agreements. The petition was delivered to lawmakers across party lines for them to sign earlier Wednesday, with opposition DPP lawmakers said to have endorsed the drive. (By W. T. Chen and Flor Wang)
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