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Taiwan's new government has no schedule for resuming China trade talks: minister

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Taiwan's new government has no schedule for re-starting trade talks with China, Economics Minister Lee Chih-kung said on Wednesday, adding that the independence-leaning ruling party's first wanted to pass a bill governing oversight of all aspects of negotiations with Beijing.

[TAIPEI] Taiwan's new government has no schedule for re-starting trade talks with China, Economics Minister Lee Chih-kung said on Wednesday, adding that the independence-leaning ruling party's first wanted to pass a bill governing oversight of all aspects of negotiations with Beijing.

Beijing has already condemned the Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) proposed "supervisory law", and critics in Taiwan say it could paralyse relations with China.

The bill requires government officials to get legislative consent before, during and after any talks with Beijing. They cannot sign any agreements with China before all three stages of legislative approval are completed. "The cross-Strait supervisory bill is still in parliament. Trade talks need the oversight, so to hold trade talks would be of no use," Mr Lee said in his first news conference since Friday's inauguration of President Tsai Ing-wen.

The DPP's Tsai has said democratic principles will rule Taiwan's ties with Beijing while reiterating her government will keep the peace and forge a consistent, predictable and sustainable relationship.

China regards Taiwan as a wayward province to be taken back by force if necessary ever since defeated Nationalists fled to Taiwan in 1949 after a civil war with China's Communists.

The DPP, which distrusts Beijing and traditionally supports independence for Taiwan, took over the reins of government from the more China-friendly Nationalist Party, which had held power for eight years.

REUTERS