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Bill to monitor cross-strait pacts crucial: Chinese official

ROC Central News Agency

2017/03/26 19:44:55

Boao, March 26 (CNA) China's top negotiator with Taiwan said Sunday that a draft bill on monitoring agreements between the two sides should be passed in Taiwan's Legislature as soon as possible so that bilateral negotiations on a pending trade pact can resume.

Chen Deming (陳德銘), chairman of the Beijing-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS), said Taiwan should weigh the interests of its people, entrepreneurs in particular, and the long term future of its youth in planning its next move on cooperation with China.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Boao Forum in China's Hainan Province, Chen said Taiwan has been talking for long time about the draft bill to monitor cross-strait agreements.

Unless the bill is enacted, however, a cross-strait trade-in-services pact, which was signed in 2013, and the trade-in-goods pact that was near the end of negotiations cannot take effect, he said.

A legislative procedure to ratify the trade-in-services pact was halted after protesters in a student-led movement occupied Taiwan's Legislature from March 18 to April 10, 2014 to prevent the ratification of the agreement by the then ruling Kuomintang (KMT) administration.

Since the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) came to power last May, relations between Taiwan and China have cooled considerably and trade agreement negotiations have ground to a halt.

Earlier this month, the DPP-dominated Legislature started to deliberate six draft bills on monitoring cross-strait agreements, but it is not clear whether any of them will be passed.

Meanwhile, Chen said Sunday in response to reporters' questions that China would welcome a visit by his Taiwan counterpart, Tien Hung-mao (田弘茂), chairman of the Taipei-based Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF).

But the precondition is recognition that "both sides" belong to "one China," however that is defined, Chen said.

On Saturday, he told reporters that he would like to visit Kinmen County and Taiwan proper to drink soybean milk and eat fried bread sticks in Taipei, but he would not visit "as a foreigner."

He said any visit to Taiwan would have to be "as an authorized representative from an organization in a separately ruled part of the country."

Lee Li-jen (李麗珍), SEF deputy secretary-general and spokeswoman, said Saturday that Taipei and Beijing should resume negotiations as soon as possible without any political preconditions.

(By Chen Chia-lun, Kao Chao-fen and Kuo Chung-han)
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