TAIPEI, Taiwan - Following the recently concluded student activist occupation of the Legislature, President Ma Ying-jeou said yesterday that he will communicate more with young adults in order to find a direction for the proposed Kuomintang (KMT) reforms.
Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) yesterday attended a seminar on policies aimed at young adults held by the Ministry of Education, while the president attended a seminar held by the KMT's Youth League in the company of Jiang on the same day.
A student surnamed Chang, who claimed to be one of the medical volunteers during the Sunflower Student Movement, attended the KMT seminar yesterday and urged the president to listen more to student opinions.
In response, Ma said that he has always been willing to talk to students, further urging Chang to tell students activists that the president is willing to talk to them.
When asked how the government intends to handle Taiwan's agricultural development, Ma said that the government has always aimed to lower the potential impacts on the agricultural industry when negotiating economic cooperation agreements with other countries.
A participant of the seminar, who claimed to have joined the KMT just six months ago, told Ma that he is disappointed in the administration over its "compromise" with Legislative Yuan Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平). The president, however, did not respond to the participant's comment.
A KMT member, surnamed Huang, said that Ma had proposed allocating a budget for gay parades during his tenure as Taipei mayor.
However, the budget proposal was rejected by detractors, Huang said, further questioning the president on whether or not he supports subsidizing sex reassignment surgeries with national health insurance.
The host of the seminar asked Jiang to answer, but Ma stood up from his seat and said, "Are you worried that I'm not able to answer the question? I will answer his question."
The president went on to say that he proposed allocating an annual budget for gay parades when he was Taipei mayor, adding that Taipei has become one of the most gay-friendly cities in the world.
Regarding the sex reassignment surgery issue, Ma said that he will bring it to the Ministry of Health and Welfare's attention.
Premier on Trade Pact Issue
"If the Legislative Yuan disapproves of the Cross-Strait Trade in Services Agreement, then so be it ... I've never supported (the idea of) letting one person make decisions on behalf of 23 million people," Jiang said. "We should jointly bear the consequences of our decisions."
When asked by local reporters if putting the service trade pact to a referendum is a feasible solution, Jiang said that it is better if the pact can be reviewed article-by-article by lawmakers under public oversight.
Gov't Welcomes Talk with DPP over Nuke 4
After the seminar, Jiang told local reporters that Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) is welcome to visit the Executive Yuan and share his opinions regarding the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant, known colloquially as "Nuke 4."
Su recently said that he is willing to discuss a potential referendum on whether or not to continue construction on the power plant with Jiang.
The premier said that he is willing to discuss the feasibility of a related draft bill proposed by the DPP caucus, adding that he contact Su's office soon.
Protest Outside KMT Seminar
Roughly a dozen protesters gathered outside of the building where the KMT seminar was held, saying that the seminar's participants were mostly KMT members and that the Ma administration has given up listening to the people.
Intraparty opinions do not represent the will of the people, the protesters said.