China pact oversight law possible: Taiwan premier

China pact oversight law possible: Taiwan premier

TAIPEI, Taiwan - Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) said yesterday that the Executive Yuan is open to the idea of enacting an oversight law for cross-strait agreements, and that it will ask the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) to draft the necessary documents if all parties involved are able to reach a consensus.

However, when replying to reporters' questions, the premier said that he is "not fully in favour" of enacting the law before lawmakers review the pact.

The premier made the comments during a press conference on the Executive Yuan's position with regard to the Cross-Strait Trade in Services Agreement.

Due to a high level of concern over the service trade pact from various sectors of society, many people have been urging the government to institutionalize the four-phase mechanism proposed by the ruling party in February, Jiang said, adding that the move would alleviate concerns that the public may have over cross-strait agreements.

Given that these requests are justified and worth considering, the executive maintains an open attitude to institutionalizing a supervisory mechanism, Jiang said.

The premier said that the Cabinet will closely cooperate with lawmakers to see how this can been done, adding that if all parties involved are able to reach a consensus, he will ask the MAC to draft the relevant papers so that there can be a clearer basis for agreement supervision in the future.

In February, the Kuomintang proposed a four-phase communication mechanism, requesting that the executive accept public and parliamentary supervision on cross-strait agreements.

The first phase would be when the agenda for an agreement is being set, namely when the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) and Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits are exploring possible subjects.

The second phase would be when an agenda has been decided.

The third phase would be before an agreement is signed, during which the relevant authorities are required to give reports at the Legislative Yuan and to give an explanation to the public on the general direction of the proposed agreement.

The fourth and final phase would be after the agreement has been signed but before it has taken effect, during which officials are required to disclose details they were unable to disclose during negotiations and give a detailed explanation to the public.

These procedures cover communication within the executive, supervision by the Legislature, communication with relevant groups and explanation to the public, Jiang said.

Legislative Yuan Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) has been conducting cross-caucus negotiations in order to find a solution, whereas on behalf of the executive, President Ma Ying-jeou has officially expressed a willingness to invite a representative of the student activists to the Presidential Office in order to talk about the controversy, Jiang said.

With regard to the planned demonstration in front of the Presidential Office on Sunday, the premier said that the government respects the right of each citizen to voice his or her opinion, because these are freedoms that a democratic society should protect.

However, the premier also called on protesters to remain democratic, rational and peaceful, adding that the government doesn't wish to see bloodshed.

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