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Cross-strait agreements should be screened by legislature: speaker

ROC Central News Agency

2010/01/28 22:29:13

Taipei, Jan. 28 (CNA) Legislative Yuan Speaker Wang Jin-pyng said Wednesday that regulations ruling that any cross-Taiwan Strait agreements will take effect automatically one month after they are signed should be revised to allow the legislature to screen all such pacts.

Wang said the legislature should "substantially" screen all agreements signed during talks between two intermediary bodies on either side -- Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) and the Beijing-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS).

Under the Act Governing Relations between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area, all cross-strait agreements become effective 30 days after their signing, no matter whether the lawmakers approve or disapprove.

The legislature has no power to nullify agreements, and this has raised debate, especially after the two sides held their first round of talks Wednesday on a proposed cross-strait economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA).

President Ma Ying-jeou, who has been promoting the ECFA since he took office in May 2008, has pledged that the executive branch will give the Legislative Yuan and the public an official update each month on the progress of the ECFA negotiations, which he said will help the public to better understand the agreement.

Wang said those who take part in the ECFA talks should brief the legislature on the progress of the negotiations as soon as each round of talks have taken place.

An SEF briefing to the legislature on the first round of talks is scheduled to take place Feb. 3.

Meanwhile, the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) suggested "institutionalizing" the legislature's monitoring of cross-strait issues by setting up a cross-strait affairs monitoring task force at the Legislative Yuan.

DPP spokesman Chuang Sou-hang said the party would prefer Ma to agree to establish such a task force rather than ask those involved in ECFA policy formation and negotiations to provide regular briefings.

(By Kelven Huang, Wen Kuei-hsiang and Elizabeth Hsu) ENDITEM/J

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