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Pact an opportunity that should not be squandered, Singapore PM tells Taiwan
Publication Date : 09-04-2014
In a meeting yesterday with the editors-in-chief and publishers of 17 English-language newspapers that comprise the Asia News Network, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said the recent progress in cross-strait economic agreement negotiations presents a good opportunity for Taiwan that should not be squandered.
Responding to queries by The China Post relating to ongoing tensions in Taipei over the Cross-Strait Trade in Services Agreement, Lee said he deemed the students' occupation of the Legislative Yuan and the storming of the Executive Yuan as abnormal for the rule of law under democracy.
Lee said the students should voice their concerns and opinions over Taiwan's future through existing legal processes, and that he was hoping for a peaceful resolution to the current social discord.
“The cross-strait agreement is a good deal. It's a pity (if Taiwan) does not sign it,” Lee told The China Post.
On whether the outbreak of student protests would harm cross-strait relations, Lee told The China Post that mainland China had not anticipated the outcome of current developments and has been monitoring the event closely.
According to Lee, under President Ma Ying-jeou's administration, Taiwan has made great strides in normalising cross-strait relations, with the current trade pact representing the final steps before the reaching of a momentous milestone.
From Singapore's perspective, normalised relations and closer ties between Beijing and Taipei are expected to benefit Asia's economies as a whole, said Lee.
Meanwhile, Lee urged Asian nations to exercise restraint when dealing with territorial disputes in the South China Sea as well as around the Diaoyutai Islands in order to avoid disastrous consequences.