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Huang: Shelve FEPZ talks until Kaohsiung situation under control
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-08-03 03:43 PM
The flurry of activities taking place in Kaohsiung, which was hit by a series of explosions caused by a leak from a gas line Thursday evening, could cause a delay in several hearings in the Special Legislative Session in Taipei this week. The DPP legislative caucus and several civic groups have notified the KMT legislative caucus that they may request a postponement of discussions of the Free Economic Pilot Zones (FEPZs) in the legislative body’s Economic Committee this week. On Friday KMT caucus convener Huang Chao-shun said she would make a final decision Sunday evening on whether or not to cancel or adjust the agenda for the week.

Items slated for discussion this week in the Special Legislative Session include the FEPZ bill as well as proposals requested by a number of civic groups to guard against so-called black box negotiations in trade agreements. Several legislators have suggested that the talks be put off until the situation in Kaohsiung is under control and government officials will not be distracted by investigations and relief efforts in the southern city.

DPP caucus convener Ker Chien-ming noted that several government agencies are deeply involved in the coordination of relief and cleanup and reconstruction efforts at the moment. He said that if relevant ministry officials are called to the Legislative Yuan to testify it could affect their ability to handle matters related to the Kaohsiung explosions and other issues. If the meetings are indeed held as scheduled, he said, the contents could be amended to include ad hoc reports and a comprehensive review of problems with petrochemical pipelines.

Huang Chao-shung said that if classes and offices are open as usual on Monday she would go north to Taipei and take part in the legislative meetings as scheduled. If schools and offices are closed in Kaohsiung Monday she will stay there to assist in disaster relief efforts and will not call any meetings in Taipei.

DPP Secretary General Tsai Chi-chang echoed Huang’s statements in saying that elected legislators from Kaohsiung should devote their attention to rescue and reconstruction efforts. There is no hurry to carry on with other scheduled tasks, he said, and the legislators will get back to items on the agenda as soon as possible.

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