The application by Taiwan to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) came just days after China’s formal application, further complicating an already difficult situation for the pact’s 11 members. Chinese officials consider the self-governing island to be part of their territory, and Taiwan doesn’t. On Wednesday, Taiwanese cabinet spokesman Lo Ping-Cheng said that Taiwan had informed the other TPP members of its formal application to join and asked for their assistance.
The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), signed by 11 countries in the Asia-Pacific region in 2018, is the region’s largest free-trade agreement and accounts for roughly 13.5% of global GDP. Cabinet spokesman Lo Ping-cheng told reporters that “most (of the CPTPP’s member countries) are Taiwan’s key trade partners, accounting for over 24% of Taiwan’s international trade.
The Nation Cannot Be Left Behind
The island nation “cannot afford to be left behind” in the global economy and must join forces with the rest of Asia’s economies. The United States initially led negotiations for the broad trade agreement to increase its influence in the Asia-Pacific region. In 2001 and 2002, China and Taiwan both joined the WTO within a month of one another.
The formal application was published this afternoon, a presidential office official said on Wednesday.
Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, which handles CPTPP enrollment requests, affirmed that the implementation had been sent to New Zealand. A ministry spokesman said the proposal would be shared with other signatories to the trade deal before a decision was taken on “whether to begin accession processes.”
The Bold Move Could Spark Further Tensions Between These Two Regions
The fact that China and Taiwan are making similar requests at the same time only serves to inflame tensions already present between the two countries. In recent years, China has used its economic might to “punish” other countries for political decisions that it disapproved of, such as Australia and South Korea, by suddenly banning some imports from those countries or halting Chinese tourism to those countries. The recent increase in Chinese military activity in Taiwan has alarmed people all over the world, whether it’s a bluff or a genuine invasion threat.
In the Chinese government’s eyes, Taiwan is a breakaway province that will eventually reintegrate back into the country. It is at the root of the conflict. Many Taiwanese believe that this is incorrect. Regardless of whether or not independence is officially declared, they believe they are a separate nation.
Beijing regards Taiwan as a part of its territory and has threatened to invade it if the island nation continues to reject unification. The Chinese government frequently exerts pressure on third countries, international organizations, non-governmental organizations, and commercial enterprises to assist in isolating Taipei and denying it any participation in international affairs on its own
China Is Still Silent!
China has not yet commented on Taiwan’s application, although it has previously insisted that Taiwan be excluded from multiple international organizations or be labeled as part of China. As a result, Taiwan has joined the union under various names. In the Olympics, for example, its athletes compete under the name Chinese Taipei.
Separate Customs Region of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen has also applied to join the CPTPP under the name used in the World Trade Organization (WTO). Before this, the US, UK, and Australia made an unprecedented security deal to counter Chinese impact throughout the Asia-Pacific region. Then-President Barack Obama promoted the original Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) as an economic community to counter China’s growing influence.
Negotiations to create the CPTPP began after President Trump withdrew the United States from the agreement.
Eleven countries, including Australia, Canada, Chile, Japan, and New Zealand, agreed to the CPTPP in 2018.
What Do We Know About Taiwan and China’s Bitterness?
The ties between China and Taiwan began to improve in the 1980s; “one country, two systems” was China’s proposal for reunification. Taiwan would be granted significant autonomy in exchange for accepting Chinese annexation. To entice Taiwanese citizens back to the mainland, Hong Kong implemented this system as a showcase. Taiwan declined the offer, but it did loosen restrictions on Chinese visitors and investors. The war with the People’s Republic of China on the Chinese mainland was declared over in 1991 as well. However, because Beijing maintains that the Taiwanese Republic of China (ROC) government is illegitimate, government-to-government meetings were impossible.
Taiwan’s current president, Tsai Ing-wen, was elected eight years later, in 2016. To that end, she is head of the country’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which favors formal separation from China in the future. Miss Tsai called Donald Trump after he won the 2016 US presidential election, reversing US policy since 1979 that cut formal relations between the two countries. Despite the lack of formal ties, the United States has pledged to provide Taiwan with defensive weapons and has made it clear that any attack by China would be of “grave concern.”
Chinese authorities increased their pressure on foreign companies throughout 2018, compelling them to list Taiwan as part of China on their websites and threatening to ban them from doing business in China if they failed to comply. Afterward that year, China’s execution of a national defense law in Hong Kong was broadly seen as just another sign that Beijing has become much more assertive in the area.
Taiwan disclosed a “large incursion” by Chinese warplanes over two days in the first days of Mr. Biden’s presidential term. A day later, China’s government claimed to have sent the most military aircraft into Taiwan’s air defense system zone in a year. Admiral John Aquilino of the Pentagon’s Indo-Pacific Command responded by warning that a Chinese invasion of Taiwan was “much closer to us than most think.” Since then, history has witnessed this bitter relationship.