The bid of Taiwan to be a part of a trans-Pacific trade agreement was welcomed by Japan on Friday saying that Taiwan shared common democratic principles with Japan. Taiwan is claimed to be its own territory by China,
Compared to the democratic and rule-of-law characteristics of Taiwan as admired by officials of Japan, there was cautiousness among the officials when reacting to a similar request by China to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
“We consider Taiwan a very important partner with which we share fundamental values such as freedom, democracy, basic human rights and rule of law,” Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura told a news conference. Japan is chairing the pact this year.
Taiwan filed the application on Wednesday, infuriating China, which sees the island as one of its provinces with no claim to statehood.
While Japan stated that Taiwan’s application will be scrutinised in light of the trade pact’s stringent requirements, the favourable reaction contrasted with a cautious response to China’s application last week.
Deputy Prime Minister of Japan, Taro Aso, voiced scepticism about China’s possibilities, citing tight restrictions governing state-owned companies.
On Friday, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato dodged a reporter’s inquiry on the various replies to the applications, avoiding to go into specifics about Japan’s position on China but alluding to principles shared with Taiwan.
The main government spokesperson went on to say that under the provisions of the trade deal, Taiwan could join, adding that it was already an autonomous member of the World Trade Organization and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.
The initial 12-member trade deal, known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), was viewed as a vital economic counterbalance to China’s increasing economic might.
However, the TPP was put on hold in 2017 when then-US President Donald Trump withdrew the US from the agreement.
Britain has also sought to join the 11-member CPTPP, with Nishimura stating that the first meeting to consider its proposal will be held on September 28.
(Adapted from USNews.com)