Taiwan blasts ‘arch criminal’ Beijing over its opposition to island’s parallel bid to join Asia-Pacific trade pact

Taiwan has hit back after mainland officials said the island should not join a major 11-nation trade pact in the Asia-Pacific, arguing that Beijing has no say in it. China has already applied for membership of the bloc.

The Taiwanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs responded to the Chinese officials in a tersely worded statement on Thursday, insisting that “Taiwan is Taiwan, and is not part of the People's Republic of China” – directly challenging Beijing's One-China policy, which considers the island a province of the country in rebellion. 

“The People's Republic of China has not ruled Taiwan for a day and has no right to represent the people of Taiwan internationally; only Taiwan's democratically elected government can participate in international organizations and regional economic and trade mechanisms on behalf of Taiwan's 23.5 million people,” the ministry added.

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China officially applies to join Asia-Pacific free-trade pact

The statement comes one day after the Chinese Foreign Ministry said it opposed Taiwan’s application to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), a major regional trade bloc that grew out of the original TPP proposal negotiated between world powers in 2016. Beijing argued that the island should not enter into any “official treaty or organization” on its own accord, including but not limited to the CPTPP – which China itself applied to join earlier this month.

Taipei has rejected that position, however, with the ministry stating “the Chinese government has no right to speak on our behalf,” and should “deeply introspect itself and stop being enemies of the Taiwanese people.”

The Chinese government only wants to bully Taiwan in the international community, and is the arch-criminal for the increase in cross-strait hostility

While the initial TPP deal fell through, the expanded CPTPP pact was inked in 2018 by 11 countries, including Australia, Canada, Chile, Japan and New Zealand. Collectively, the bloc represents nearly half-a-billion consumers and accounts for 13.3% of the world’s GDP.

Earlier on Thursday, Taiwan also claimed some two-dozen Chinese warplanes entered the island’s air-defense zone, including two nuclear-capable craft. While 19 planes were initially reported, Taipei ultimately suggested up to 24 may have crossed into its declared territory. That incident followed a similar reported incursion last week around the same area – a flyover involving 10 People’s Liberation Army warplanes. Taiwan denounced the operation as an attempt to “intimidate” the island. 

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This handout photo taken and released on February 10, 2020 by Taiwan's Defence Ministry shows a Taiwanese F-16 fighter jet flying next to a Chinese H-6 bomber (top) in Taiwan's airspace. © AFP / Handout / Taiwan's Defence Ministry
Taiwan mounts urgent response after 19 Chinese PLA jets, including two nuclear-capable bombers, enter its air defense zone

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