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NO BIG SURPRISE:
The Mainland Affairs Council said that Taiwan’s right to participate in regional economic groups cannot be disputed by any nation or individual
Beijing yesterday said that it would block Taiwan’s application to join a Pacific Rim trade initiative, citing as its reason the nation’s refusal to concede that it is a part of China.
China’s Taiwan Affairs Office said that Taiwan’s participation in regional trade cooperation is based on the “one China” principle.
“We oppose the Taiwan region participating in any trade arrangements of an official nature or signing any trade agreements of an official nature,” spokeswoman Zhu Fenglian (朱鳳蓮) told reporters at a biweekly briefing.
On Thursday last week, Taiwan announced that it had applied to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), a week after China submitted its own application to join.
The 11-nation CPTPP, which took effect in 2018, includes agreements on market access, movement of labor and government procurement.
Other members include Australia, Canada, Japan, Mexico, Peru, Singapore and New Zealand. The UK has also started negotiating to join since leaving the EU.
The CPTPP had been called the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a group promoted by then-US president Barack Obama. However, in 2017, then-US president Donald Trump pulled out of the group, and US President Joe Biden has not rejoined it.
Zhu’s comments followed earlier remarks by Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Zhao Lijian (趙立堅) that China was “firmly opposed to any official contacts between Taiwan and other countries, as well as Taiwan’s accession to any agreements or organizations that are of an official nature.”
Taipei expected that China would seek to block its accession.
“Taiwan and China follow different systems of organization,” Minister Without Portfolio John Deng (鄧振中) told a news conference following last week’s announcement. “We are an integrated market economy.”
Taiwan applied to join the CPTPP using the name “Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu.” That is the name it used to join the WTO in 2002.
As it has gained economic and political clout, China has adopted an increasingly rigid attitude toward such organizations, particularly regarding Taiwan.
In Taipei, the Mainland Affairs Council said in a statement that the Republic of China is a sovereign nation that has never been a part of the People’s Republic of China.
As a member of the WTO and APEC, Taiwan’s right to participate in regional economic groups or enter into negotiations cannot be disputed by any nation or individual, the council said.
Beijing’s habitual bullying, its aggressive pushing of the so-called “one China” principle and its obstruction of Taiwan’s participation in international trade groups and negotiations “hurt the feelings of Taiwanese,” it added.
“These efforts by the Chinese authorities will not be tolerated by the democratic and free countries of the world,” it said.
Taiwan signed trade agreements with Singapore and New Zealand after it joined the WTO, and the government is working toward the success of its CPTPP bid, the council said.
Additional writing by staff writer and CNA
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