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President invites protesting students for talks
Central News Agency
2014-03-25 11:39 PM
Taipei, March 25 (CNA) President Ma Ying-jeou has contacted representatives of protesting students opposed to the trade-in- services agreement with China, expressing his willingness to talk with them, a source from the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) said Tuesday. Ma, who doubles as KMT chairman, revealed in a weekly meeting with party members earlier in the day that he had contacted the students, with whom he said he is willing to hold talks without any preconditions, said the source, who also attended the meeting. Quoting Ma, the source said that "opening up will bring prosperity and seclusion will only incur recession," implying that the president still insists on opening Taiwan's doors wider to trade partners, including China. The controversial trade pact with China, which was signed in June last year but has been stalled since then, was unsurprisingly the main topic of the KMT meeting Tuesday, since its opponents launched a protest rally surrounding the Legislature March 18 that quickly developed into an occupation of the main legislative chamber. According to the participants in the meeting, the party's legislative sources complained of opposition lawmakers' constant changes to their stance on the trade accord during cross-party negotiations. The KMT tried to review the pact article by article but were thwarted by the opposition parties, they said. Meanwhile, Lin Fei-fan, one of the student representatives, said they won't discuss the proposal for talks unless Ma displays "enough goodwill." The Presidential Office has so far only said through the media that the president wants to talk with the protesting students. "There have been no agreements on the form the talks will take, nor on the date and location of any such talks," Lin said. Lin also asked for Ma's promise that no sanctions will be imposed on any KMT lawmakers who might decide not to adhere to the party's stance on the trade pact. (By Lee Shu-hua and Elizabeth Hsu)
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