Members of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislative caucus hold a press conference yesterday afternoon, expressing surprise at comments made shortly before by Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng.
Photo: Chen Chih-chu, Taipei Times
While Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng’s (王金平) promise yesterday to enact a law regulating pacts with China before resuming the process of deliberating the cross-strait service trade pact won kudos from the opposition, it was rejected by the Presidential Office and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus.
An hour or so after Wang, a KMT member, pledged that before the enactment of the law, which has been called for by the student-led protesters occupying the legislature, he will not hold any inter-party negotiation about the controversial trade pact, the KMT caucus told a press conference that it was not informed and was “shocked” to hear Wang’s pledge.
The KMT caucus said that those KMT members who were present during Wang’s talk did not know the content of his speech beforehand and “do not endorse the announcement that Wang has made.”
KMT legislators Lin Hung-chih (林鴻池), Alex Fai (費鴻泰) and -Chiang Hui-chen (江惠貞), who accompanied Wang during his visit to the legislature, told the press conference that they were “startled” upon hearing Wang’s comments because they had had no idea what it was about beforehand.
The promise Wang made about not convening cross-party negotiations until the legislation of an oversight mechanism has been completed has been interpreted by the students and some media as concurring with the students’ demand of “legislation before reviewing [the service trade agreement],” said Lin, the KMT caucus whip.
“However, we have to emphasize that the KMT caucus’ stance has always been that the two [the legislation and the review] can be carried out on parallel tracks,” Lin said in a rebuttal to the interpretation.
Fei, the KMT caucus deputy secretary, said he felt the party was “betrayed and sold out” by Wang, who “did not communicate with the party caucus before releasing the statement and made us who stood beside him appear to blindly endorse his views.”
“Despite [Wang’s] assertion that he did not inform anyone about his statement before making it public, it seemed that DPP caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) and the students had all known about Wang’s intention before he went to the legislative chamber,” Fei added.
Lin also took the opportunity to underline the validity of all the conclusions made by the cross-party negotiations staged before Wang’s speech yesterday.
“DPP had agreed to have a clause-by-clause discussion and vote in last year’s inter-party negotiation. To say not to carry out negotiation anymore does not mean that the former ones are no longer binding,” Lin said.
He then called on the students to leave the Legislative Yuan immediately for the 10 versions of the draft bill on cross-strait agreements oversight mechanism “to be handed to the committee by the legislative floor meeting.”
Lin said the non-government version of the draft will also be included.
“You keep saying the legislation is to be done prior to the review, but the reality is that we cannot even legislate now with the floor being occupied,” he said.
When asked whether the KMT would, if the students retreated, positively respond to the their demand of “legislate first, review next,” Lin repeated that the two can be carried out simultaneously and that “the cross-strait service trade agreement was signed “not without a legal base,” referring to the Act Governing Relations between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (兩岸人民關係條例), “according to which a total 19 [cross-strait] agreements have already been signed.”
Separately yesterday, Ker rebutted the KMT caucus’ remarks, saying that more than 20 KMT lawmakers stood behind Wang as he made his speech and that they all raised their hands with Wang after he completed the speech, chanting: “Taiwan, jia you [加油, an expression of encouragement],” several times.
Meanwhile, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday called again for the early passage of the pact.
Ma had no knowledge beforehand of either Wang’s morning visit to protesters at the Legislative Yuan or his promise that the legislature will not review the pact until a law monitoring cross-strait agreements is enacted, Presidential Office spokesperson Lee Chia-fei (李佳霏) said.