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Students call for new siege against KMT lawmakers
Cabinet to approve framework law: KMT whip
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-04-01 05:47 PM
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The students occupying the Legislative Yuan called on the public to besiege the compound Wednesday morning in a protest against a move by ruling Kuomintang lawmakers to discuss the trade-in-services pact with China.

The KMT planned to hold a joint legislative committee meeting Wednesday and Thursday to review the trade pact, but the main opposition Democratic Progressive Party said the gathering would be illegal and its lawmakers would therefore try to prevent it from taking place.

Economics Committee convener Chang Ching-chung of the KMT wanted to chair the meetings of eight legislative committees, but both the students and the DPP said he was not qualified, and the opposition party would do its utmost to prevent him from taking the podium.

Reacting to the news late Tuesday, student leaders called on members of the public to gather outside the Legislature at 9 a.m., around the time the committee meeting was scheduled to begin. The KMT caucus was giving a slap in the face of the 500,000 people who took to the streets last Sunday, the students said.

President Ma Ying-jeou said Tuesday he would find it difficult to accept an invitation from the students to visit the Legislative Yuan and meet them there, because according to the Constitution, a president could only visit at the invitation of the legislative body to present a State of the Nation report. Ma said it was not that he did not want to meet the students, but it would be more convenient if they came to the Presidential Office.

The current stalemate started when Chang proclaimed the clause-by-clause review and vote on the trade pact over in just 30 seconds, before it had truly started on March 17. The following day, students protested outside but then entered the Legislative Yuan compound and took control.

The KMT only recently gave in to demands to have the trade accord return to the joint committee level, but students want the passage of a framework law guiding negotiations with China first.

The Cabinet is expected to approve a proposal for such a law during its regular weekly meeting Thursday after the KMT legislative caucus discusses a proposal, the party’s chief whip Lin Hung-chih said Tuesday.

The passage of a supervisory law is one of the key demands of students who have been occupying the Legislative Yuan since March 18 in their quest for a thorough review of the trade-in-services pact signed with China last June.

First, Mainland Affairs Council Minister Wang Yu-chi was planning to present a report about the issue when KMT legislators met at the national party headquarters at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, reports said. Vice Premier Mao Chi-kuo and Economics Minister Chang Chia-juch would also be present to discuss details of an eventual law.

Lin said that Wang had visited him to talk about his report, but he had not heard any concrete content yet.

The ruling party was playing a two-faced game, said DPP caucus official Lawrence Kao. On the one hand, Lin pretended he had offered his resignation over the crisis, but on the other hand, the man who should really have resigned, Chang, was still planning to preside over the review of the pact, the DPP lawmaker said.

A DPP-dominated legislative committee meeting on March 24 voted to throw back the trade pact to the Executive Yuan, as the occupiers demand, until the framework law is passed. No KMT lawmakers attended the committee meeting.

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