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DPP to US: Taiwan not completely opposed to CSSTA
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-04-06 03:02 PM
The DPP representative office in the United States sent a communication to the US government Friday pointing out that despite the high-profile protest by students occupying the Legislative Yuan, Taiwan is not absolutely opposed to the Cross-strait Service Trade Agreement (CSSTA) at the center of the Sunflower Movement’s protests.

The party’s message pointed out that lawmakers have agreed to hammer out an oversight mechanism including regulations for monitoring the process of negotiations on trade agreements in the future. Some of these may be retroactive and apply to CSSTA, the DPP says, but the important point is that the government and protesters are making progress toward resolving the impasse that has held up legislative action for three weeks now. In addition, the paper noted that the crux of the protesters’ dissatisfaction has been the way the trade agreement was handled in the Legislative Yuan and not necessarily the contents of CSSTA itself.

The DPP was quick to mention that it supports free trade, open markets and participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) and is certainly not dead-set against CSSTA. The main point is that the protesters and the opposition in Taiwan feel that cross-strait relations are a very sensitive matter and the government needs to be more transparent and patient in its handling of such negotiations.

Such deliberations must include assessments, consultation, dialogue and review by the opposition and not the unilateral, ‘black box’ approach that the ruling party has tried to follow in negotiating CSSTA. A more transparent and open approach may slow the pace of negotiations somewhat, the DPP admits, but that is still far better than the confusion and mistrust that has arisen around the unveiling of CSSTA.

The DPP emphasized that in complex and detailed matters like cross-strait negotiations and agreements, slowing the pace is the best way to promote stability and ensure the rights of everyone affected by the agreements that are hammered out.

The DPP pointed out that many more agreements are certain to follow in the wake of CSSTA, and it is essential that the Legislative Yuan set up procedures to monitor negotiations and ensure that they are smooth and transparent. The party pointed out that "this may signal that there needs to be an internal consensus on establishing an oversight mechanism to monitor the negotiation of subsequent agreements and allow effective legislative work."

The DPP added that it agrees that such a mechanism should be put in place as soon as possible, noting that it would also need to be retroactive to cover CSSTA. Such an oversight mechanism offers the best solution to resolving the impasse that has brought Taiwan’s legislative body to a grinding halt for three weeks.

On Thursday US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Russel offered praise for President Ma Ying-jeou for his role in helping to achieve remarkable progress in cross-strait relations during his six-year tenure.

On the other hand David Brown, a director of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), has been vocal in his criticism of the student movement as well as the DPP, and the party’s message is the first response to remarks castigating the students and the DPP for their opposition to CSSTA and the ruling party’s attempt to foist it on the people of Taiwan without a proper examination of its content.

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