• Sun
  • Nov 23, 2014
  • Updated: 8:57am

Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou to address public as student protesters dig in

Island’s president will press case for cross-strait trade pact as sit-in of parliament enters day six

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 22 March, 2014, 8:23pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 23 March, 2014, 9:54am

Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou will address the island's public for the first time today on the crisis triggered by opposition to a cross-strait trade pact.

Protesters have been occupying the parliament building in Taipei since Tuesday.

The presidential office announced yesterday that Ma would hold a press conference this morning to "address public doubts and opinions about the cross-strait service and trade pact", as well as the significance and necessity of such a pact.

Since the student protesters occupied the Legislative Yuan on Tuesday night, Ma has only issued statements through his office, despite repeated calls by protesters to meet him.

The announcement of the press conference followed a meeting of Ma and his top aides, including Premier Dr Jiang Yi-huah and Vice-President Wu Den-yih, at his residence last night. But the Central New Agency reported that Ma would not withdraw the pact.

Earlier in the afternoon, the first dialogue between Jiang and the protesters outside the Legislative Yuan failed to yield results. Jiang said the government would not withdraw the trade pact with the mainland, rejecting calls to stop its ratification.

Jiang walked to the parliament building surrounded by bodyguards as some protesters jostled and shouted "step down" in footage broadcast live.

"The cabinet sent the services trade pact to parliament because we think it will help Taiwan's liberalisation and internationalisation. We do not plan to withdraw [it]," Jiang told the crowd gathered on the streets outside.

The agreement is designed to open up further trade in services between the mainland and Taiwan. The protesters say it will damage Taiwan's economy and leave it vulnerable to political pressure from Beijing, allegations rejected by Ma's ruling Kuomintang, which warns that failure to ratify the agreement would set back Taiwan's efforts to seek more free trade agreements.

Protesters have demanded Ma "return" to Beijing the services trade pact, signed in July. More than 200 students stormed the parliament's main chamber on Tuesday and have remained there, the first such occupation of the building in Taiwan's history.


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This article is now closed to comments

So, I think the president Ma's policy is the correct to maintain the status quo of Taiwan and let Taiwan prosperity.
I didn’t see Americans, Canadians or Mexicans stormed their legislative chambers when the United Stets initiated a NAFTA agreement between US, Canada and Mexico. Many Americans, Canadians or Mexicans strongly opposed NAFTA agreement; they also like the Taiwanese fear of losing their jobs and US growing influence. In addition, the United States, Canada or Mexico without any public hearings, listen to the voice of the people.
President Ma's government has said the agreement won't only spur more trade with China, Taiwan's largest export market, but will also encourage more countries to sign similar trade pacts with Taiwan and boost its integration into the regional economy.
Again, Free Speech Rights do not extend to occupy legislative floor. Wall Street protests of The United States in New York are a good example. New York police were hitting protesters, spraying people if they didn't move fast enough. Around 200 people were arrested, including a member of the City Council, at least a half-dozen journalists covering the confrontation.
Jennie PC Chiang/江佩珍 pg 2/2
Correct me if I'm wrong, cross-strait trade agreement has been debated and adopted by the Taiwanese lawmakers. It should not be considered a "black box/黑箱" Even by the Kuomintang majority seats in the Legislative Yuan. I don’t understand what students protesting do to change cross-strait agreement if it has passed the appropriate constitutional and democratic processes.
In the main demands of students is "anti-black box". Is it because the students’ a stir or attracted attention at home and abroad, from the anti-trade services extended, it seems to me, to political fight and power grabbing.
I think the mayor of Taipei should consider ordering the police to clean up protesting students who are illegally occupying the Legislative Yuan. It is unsanitary and unsafe to sleep in and camp in the Legislative Yuan. It will be like a snow ball. Longer Taipei mayor waits, the worse it become.
I am concerned that the students’ reckless and wanton behavior will destabilize Taiwan and may give Chinese government an excuse to attack Taiwan. All my siblings and relatives are in Taiwan. I am only a person in US. I can guarantee that China will not attack Taiwan, as long as Taiwan does not declare independence. This is not China's best interests to take back Taiwan by force. You should know that if China wants to take back Taiwan and with China's current capacity is not too difficult. I do not think the U.S. or International will give Taiwan much help.
Jennie PC Chiang/江佩珍 Pg1/2


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