China opposes Taiwan's application to join CPTPP

September 23, 2021
China "objects" to Taiwan's request to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), Beijing's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said on Thursday. — courtesy photo

BEIJING/TOKYO — Chinese authorities declared rejecting Taiwan's application to join the 11-nation Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), Xinhua News Agency reported Thursday.

"There is only one China in the world, and Taiwan is an inalienable part of the Chinese territory," Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian was quoted by Xinhua as saying.

Earlier on the day, Taiwan officially announced it has formally submitted its application to join the 11-nation Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), following China's bid, the Taipei-based Central News Agency reported.

The multilateral deal, which grew out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership after the US left the pact in January 2017, is one of the world's biggest trade blocs, representing a market of 500 million people and accounting for 13.5 percent of global trade.

Its 11 signatories are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam. The UK also applied for membership in February

Taiwan's formal application to join the agreement on Wednesday came less than a week after China on Sept. 16 also applied for membership in the CPTPP.

At a press event in Taipei to announce the application, Taiwan's Trade Representative John Deng admitted that if China joins the free trade bloc first, it will pose a major obstacle for Taiwan, because the Chinese government may oppose its membership, the report said.

"I believe all CPTPP member states will review each application on a case-by-case basis and based on whether the applicant is meeting all required standards," said Deng.

After submitting the application, Taiwan will begin accession talks with all 11 CPTPP members in seeking their support and in learning the pressing issues, each member state is most concerned about, he said.

Deng would not estimate how long it will take Taiwan to join the trade bloc, citing uncertainties concerning the accession process. "This move is the biggest step Taiwan has taken in terms of international trade, after joining the WTO in 2002," he stressed.

"Most of (the CPTPP's) member countries are Taiwan's key trade partners, accounting for over 24 percent of Taiwan's international trade," cabinet spokesman Lo Ping-cheng told reporters.

"Taiwan can't be left out in the world and has to integrate into the regional economy."

Taiwan had been lobbying to join the pact for years but on Thursday made a formal application. Those hoping to join, such as Britain, must have the unanimous support of all the pact's member countries

On Thursday, Australia said China must end a freeze on contacts with senior Australian politicians if it hopes to sign up. All of the CPTPP members have official diplomatic relations with Beijing, not Taipei. — Agencies

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