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Taiwan on Wednesday had filed an official application to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) trade group. However, John Deng, Taiwanese minister without a portfolio has stated that the move could rattle China. Beijing had earlier submitted its application on September 16 and if it is approved, it could create an obstacle for the island nation. Deng remarked that China has been obstructing Taiwan in the international arena.
“China has been obstructing Taiwan’s opportunities in the international arena,” said Deng at a news conference.
“If China joins ahead of Taiwan, it will endanger Taiwan’s application.” he added
Apart from John Deng, even Taiwanese experts have warned that if China was allowed to join, then Taiwan could face more obstacles in becoming part of a wide regional trade alliance.
The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) trade group is a free trade agreement (FTA) between Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, New Zealand, Singapore and Vietnam. It was signed in March 2018 in Santiago, Chile. It was earlier, Trans-Pacific Partnership, a group promoted by then US President Barack Obama. His successor, Donald Trump, pulled out in 2017. President Joe Biden has not rejoined. Trump’s decision to pull out paved the way for Japan to become the leading economy in the group.
China and Taiwan have been engaged in a tussle as Beijing claims full sovereignty over the island nation, a thriving democracy of almost 24 million people located off the southeastern coast of mainland China. Beijing continues to claim Taiwan even as the latter has been governed separately for more than seven decades.
On the other hand, Taipei has countered Chinese aggression by increasing strategic ties with democracies and rivals of China, mainly the United States. Beijing has repeatedly opposed US and Taiwan ties and has constantly threatened that “Taiwan’s independence” means war. Moreover, the US has supported Taiwan by maintaining close ties and providing it with military assets. On the other hand, Taiwan also enjoys support from the United States. On June 1, Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged complete reunification with self-ruled Taiwan and vowed to smash any attempts at formal independence for the island.
(With inputs from Agencies)