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Draft bills on monitoring cross-strait pacts stall in Legislature

ROC Central News Agency

2017/03/22 22:36:36

Taipei, March 22 (CNA) Six versions of draft bills on monitoring agreements between Taiwan and China made little progress in the Legislature on Wednesday in spite of ruling and opposition party caucuses' vows to deliberate them that day and the next.

Legislators spent the whole day in a futile effort to determine whether the draft bills should be reviewed by a legislative committee or in plenary session.

Lawmakers of ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and minor opposition New Power Party (NPP) proposed that the bills be screened in a joint session of the foreign affairs, national defense and economics committees.

However, the major opposition Kuomintang (KMT) caucus rejected the suggestion, while lawmakers of the minor opposition People First Party said they would accept it on condition that the NPP withdrew its version that implied "two countries in one China."

The arguments lasted into the afternoon until convener of the legislative Internal Administration Committee, Tseng Ming-chung (曾銘宗 ), who was scheduled to chair the committee meeting, called a recess and said the discussions would continue Thursday.

"We must continue tomorrow, unless there are caucus boycotts, to hold formal discussions on moving forward this important bill, which is critical to stabilizing cross-strait relations," Tseng said.

Meanwhile, PFP caucus whip Chen Yi-chieh (陳怡潔) accused the DPP and NPP of trying to "fix the game" by technically stalling the bill's progress.

She urged all the parties to stop their "ideological struggle" and find a new consensus on the resumption of cross-strait talks, which have been suspended since President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) took office last May.

Premier Lin Chuan (林全) has said the Cabinet supports the DPP's version of the bill, titled "Draft Bill on Monitoring the Signing of Cross-Strait Agreements."

A more controversial version was put forth by the NPP, titled "Draft Bill on Handling the Signing of Agreements between Our Country and the People's Republic of China (PRC)."

The draft does not stipulate whether "our country" means Taiwan or the Republic of China, but is certain to incur the wrath of China for promoting the idea of "two countries" in defiance of Beijing's "one China" principle.

The PFP has proposed a "Draft Bill on Monitoring Cross-Strait Agreements," while the KMT caucus has not produced a draft but rather is allowing two of its legislators to put forth "private" bills.

DPP lawmaker, Yu Mei-nu (尤美女) has also presented her own version of the bill to the Legislature.

(By Chen Chun-hua, Miao Tsung-han and S.C. Chang)
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