Japan, citing ‘shared values,’ welcomes Taiwan trade pact application

Japan, citing ‘shared values,’ welcomes Taiwan trade pact application

Reuters

Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi, pictured, welcomed Taiwan’s application to join a trans-Pacific trade pact, citing shared democratic values with the island, which the People’s Republic of China (PRC) claims as its own.

Taiwan applied in September 2021 to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), which Japan is chairing this year, less than a week after the PRC’s application.

“We consider Taiwan a very important partner with which we share fundamental values such as freedom, democracy, basic human rights and rule of law,” Motegi told reporters during his visit to the United Nations in New York.

While Motegi added that Taiwan’s application would need to be scrutinized against the trade pact’s strict standards, his comments stood in contrast to Japanese officials’ more cautious reaction to the PRC’s application.

Asked about the PRC’s chances of joining the pact, Japanese Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso expressed skepticism, citing strict rules pertaining to state-owned enterprises.

The original 12-member agreement, known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), was seen as an important economic counterweight to the PRC’s growing influence. The PRC opposes Taiwan entering into any official treaty or organization as a sovereign nation.

IMAGE CREDIT: THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

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