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Students mull withdrawal as Blues cry betrayal by Speaker
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-04-06 04:44 PM
Legislative Speaker stunned members of his own party Sunday by encouraging legislators from both the ruling and opposition sides to show their concern for the student protesters who have occupied the Assembly Hall of the Legislative Yuan for three weeks. Wang said that lawmakers should put together an oversight mechanism governing negotiations for trade agreements before launching a review of the Cross-strait Service Trade Agreement (CSSTA), the trade pact at the center of the conflict over what the opposition calls ‘black box’ tactics in handling CSSTA.

Set back by Wang’s announcement, a group of KMT legislators led by majority whip Lin Hung-chih called an emergency press conference at 13:30 Sunday afternoon to respond to the speaker’s remarks. Lin began by noting that he had no previous knowledge of what Wang had planned to say, stressing that he was very shocked by Wang’s comments. Lin said many KMT legislators felt Wang had "betrayed the entire caucus."

Lin said he was unaware of Wang’s plans to speak on behalf of the entire Legislative Yuan, pointing out that even Deputy Legislative Speaker Hung Hsiu-chu did not have an inkling of Wang’s intentions. Lin noted that Wang’s statement mentioned that the legislative body should enact a monitoring mechanism to supervise cross-strait agreement negotiations before beginning a review of CSSTA. He said Wang had told him only that he would be going to the Legislative Yuan Sunday to see the students and had not said anything about the student’s demand for a monitoring mechanism before reviewing the trade pact.

Lin Hung-chih, Chief Deputy Secretary-General Fei Hung-tai and other KMT caucus members noted that Wang Jin-pyng had sprung the statement without telling them he would do so, making it look like they all supported his move and making them feel betrayed. Fei noted that when he talked with Wang on the phone at noon, he bluntly told the speaker that the entire KMT had been shocked by his action, adding, “We all feel betrayed by you!"

Fei added that DPP General Convener Ker Chien-ming and most of the students seemed to know in advance what Wang intended to say, adding insult to injury for the KMT and making them feel totally sold out by the speaker. Fei said when he told Wang the KMT caucus felt betrayed by his action. the speaker responded by asking, "How else could I have handled this?"

Lin Fei-fan, one of the leaders in the Sunflower movement, said Sunday he feels Wang Jin-pyng has shown goodwill in his dealings with the students who have occupied the Assembly Hall of the Legislative Yuan since March 18. Because of that, he believes the lawmaking body will make good on the students’ demand for a set of regulations governing cross-strait negotiations in the future. If such deliberations can get underway soon, said Lin, the students can sit down and discuss Wang’s request that they peacefully withdraw from the Assembly Hall. Thus it may be possible for the protest that has brought legislative action to a standstill to be ended without further conflict or bloodshed.

Wang’s message to the students Sunday centered on the idea that "We have heard the voice of everyone and we will continue to work hard."

After Wang left the protest area, Lin told reporters that the students could sense Wang’s sincerity and goodwill, saying this is one of the first small positive results the students have seen in the three weeks they have occupied the Legislative Yuan’s Assembly Hall.

Lin said that even as ruling and opposition legislators finally come around to accepting the idea of adopting an oversight mechanism for negotiations, the students will hold fast to their original demand to “set up regulations for negotiations, then review the trade pact "

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