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China Times: Cross-strait dialogue on Taiwan's TPP, RCEP bids
Central News Agency
2014-01-10 12:44 PM
To show Taiwan's determination to participate in regional economic integration, President Ma Ying-jeou recently presided over the first meeting of the Cabinet's expanded International Economic and Trade Strategy Task Force. He also asked former Vice President Vincent Siew to help set up a committee of private sector members to promote Taiwan's bid to take part in the U.S.-led Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which is being promoted by China and member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. Ma's high-profile moves seem intended to send a message to Beijing, as China's support is crucial to Taiwan's success in joining these regional economic integration initiatives. Over the past year, Taiwan has made little progress in its TPP and RCEP bids, although it managed to sign two economic cooperation agreements with Singapore and New Zealand, respectively. Siew met with Chinese President Xi Jinping twice last year and on each occasion urged Beijing to help with Taiwan's efforts to join regional economic integration. In an interview with Taiwanese media in May, Zhang Zhijun, the head of China's Taiwan Affairs Office, said that Taiwan's TPP and RCEP participation is a political issue that should be resolved through communication between Beijing and Taipei. Taiwan, therefore, should work to include the issue in cross-Taiwan Strait dialogue, possibly in the planned meeting between Zhang and Mainland Affairs Council Chairman Wang Yu-chi. The Ma administration has no need to worry that such a discussion would denigrate Taiwan's status. Refusing to do so will only lead to further restriction of Taiwan's autonomy. (Editorial abstract -- Jan. 10, 2014) (By Y.F. Low)
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