Taiwan leader says protest-hit China trade pact vital for economy
Published on Mar 23, 2014 1:55 PM
TAIPEI (REUTERS) - Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou said on Sunday that the island needed to pass a contentious trade pact with China for the sake of its economy, and called on protesters who have occupied parliament in protest to respect democracy and leave.
Parliamentary approval of the pact would pave the way for greater economic integration between the two former geopolitical foes, by opening 80 of China's service sectors to Taiwan and 64 Taiwan sectors to China.
But the demonstrators who have taken over parliament and massed in the surrounding streets for the past five days fear the deal could further swell Beijing's economic influence over their proudly democratic island.
Speaking to reporters in Taipei, Mr Ma said that Taiwan would suffer economically if it did not sign the agreement with its biggest export destination, China.
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