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New Zealand joins Japan in support of Taiwan’s application, noting that those who abide by the pact’s high standards are welcome. This is a warning to China, another applicant, which should reform its state economy. Peru, which is very close to Beijing, could sink Taiwan’s bid.
Taipei (AsiaNews) – The members of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) welcome Taiwan’s membership, this according to New Zealand’s Trade Minister Damien O’Connor.
The New Zealand official expressed this view today on the sidelines of a virtual meeting by the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum.
The CPTPP replaced the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) promoted by former US president Barack Obama to counter the geopolitical rise of China.
Following Donald Trump’s decision in 2017 to withdraw from the TPP, Japan, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam set up the CPTPP.
O’Connor explained that in addition to Taiwan, CPTPP members are also open to other countries. However, he stressed that applicants must meet the high standards required by the agreement to be accepted.
After Japan, New Zealand is the first CPPTP member to fully support Taiwan’s membership.
Tokyo has already made it clear that it sees no technical problems for Taiwan’s membership, given that the CPTPP also provides for the possible participation of “separate customs” territories, a status that has allowed Taiwan to accede to the World Trade Organisation (to which China belongs).
According to the international press, Australia and Canada are also working behind the scenes to encourage Taiwan’s entry. Singapore is on the same wavelength as New Zealand, open to any “eligible” economy to join the CPTPP.
Taiwan is concerned however about Peru’s possible veto. Now led by left-wing president Pedro Castillo, the Peruvian government wants to boost ties with China, the South American country’s top trading partner and largest foreign investor.
At the end of September, the CPTPP group opened negotiations with the United Kingdom to join. South Korea is also interested in membership. Taiwan applied on 22 September, six days after mainland China.
China has repeatedly said that it is opposed to any attempt by the island to join official organisations or multilateral agreements.
Beijing has urged CPTPP member countries to reject Taiwan’s application, a move that Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen calls an act of international bullying.
China considers Taiwan a “rebel” province and Chinese President Xi Jinping has not ruled out using force to take the island.
For more than a year, China has intensified military operations around the island. Yesterday, Taiwan’s National Defence Ministry released a paper saying that the mainland wants to take island without a fight, by sapping its morale through hybrid operations such as continuous overflights, cyber attacks, and cognitive warfare.
To join the CPPTP, an applicant must obtain the approval of all its members. Unlike China, Taiwan has a market economy that meets all the criteria for admission.
In fact, it will be difficult for China to comply with CPPTP rules in areas such as state-owned enterprises, workers’ rights, environmental standards, intellectual property protection, access to foreign investors, currency convertibility and the digital economy.