Cabinet passes draft amendments to Act Governing Relations between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area

  • Date: 2019-03-28
  • Source: Department of Information Services, Executive Yuan

The Cabinet on Thursday passed draft amendments to Article 5-3 of the Act Governing Relations between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area to provide greater transparency and oversight on cross-strait negotiations and agreements. Drafted by the Mainland Affairs Council, the amendments will be forwarded to the Legislature for review.

Premier Su Tseng-chang said that China in recent years has waged an unrelenting campaign against Taiwan, using political and military pressure, united front tactics and economic bait to threaten and undermine Taiwan’s national security and development. The government is responsible for defending Taiwan’s sovereignty and must therefore build stronger democratic defenses to protect the people’s freedoms, rights and democratic way of life.

The amendments specify that discussions and negotiations on any cross-strait political topic must be based on a pre-negotiation proposal put forward by the Executive Yuan for the Legislature’s review. Both the pre-negotiation proposal and the agreement concluded during negotiations must meet the same approval threshold as a constitutional amendment; that is, approval by three-quarters of lawmakers at a session attended by three-quarters of all members of the Legislature. Having received the Legislature’s approval, the negotiated agreement must then be put to a national referendum vote and passed by the public before it is considered approved.

The rationale for requiring two rounds of legislative review at the same stringent threshold as a constitutional amendment, followed by a national referendum, is to make the negotiations open and transparent, provide legislative oversight, and allow the people to participate in the process, the premier said. Additionally, any topic that weakens or alters national sovereignty or the free and democratic constitutional order may not serve as a political topic for negotiation and discussion.