Taiwan-China service pact debate scheduled for Sept.15

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The debate about the service trade pact with China between President Ma Ying-jeou and Democratic Progressive Party Chairman Su Tseng-chang will take place on September 15 at 2 p.m., reports said Wednesday.
The decision came out of talks between representatives of both sides with the media groups involved in preparations. The ball started rolling last week, when a poll revealed that 63 percent of the public wanted such a debate because of limited understanding of what the pact entailed.
Public Television Service proposed to organize a live televised debate in cooperation with the Central News Agency and four major Chinese-language newspapers, the Apple Daily, the United Daily News, the Liberty Times and the China Times.
The ruling Kuomintang, which will see Ma join the debate in his capacity of party chairman, and the DPP sparred for days about the details of the formula. The opposition said reporters should not ask questions of the two participants because the discussion was not an election debate. It also accused the government of failing to release sufficient details about the controversial accord, which was signed in Shanghai on June 21.
The KMT countered by accusing the opposition of putting up too many preconditions and of trying to evade the debate. Ma said Tuesday that the more questions were asked during the discussion, the better, because it would clarify the issues for the public.
The Legislative Yuan still has to review the pact item by item as well as vote on every clause. The opposition has accused the government of excessive secrecy, while warning the liberalization launched by the accord will affect more than 4 million workers as well as the island’s small and medium enterprises, the backbone of its economy. Lawmakers should vote down those clauses detrimental to Taiwan’s economy and ask the government to renegotiate them with China, the DPP said.
The government countered by saying the country should have more confidence and will be strong enough to profit from the deal, which will see China open up more sectors to competition than Taiwan.
Later this year, the government is likely to negotiate a similar goods trade agreement with an even larger effect, reports said. The DPP has accused the Ma Administration of putting all its eggs in the same basket, making Taiwan’s future too reliant on the economy of China, which still targets more than 1,000 missiles at the island.
The debate will be the first one outside of election campaigns since 2010, when Ma and then-DPP Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen discussed the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement with China.
Cable station TVBS released a survey Wednesday showing that up to 65 percent of the public was interested in watching the debate.