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Premier urges Japan to support Taiwan's CPTPP bid

2018/07/07 21:49:54

Kaohsiung, July 7 (CNA) Premier Lai Ching-te (賴清德) urged Japan Saturday to support Taiwan's bid for membership of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) to increase economic exchanges between the two countries.

Speaking at an annual summit of councilmen from Taiwan and Japan to foster ties between the two countries in Kaohsiung, Lai said he hopes the Japanese government and the National Congress of Councilmen for Japan-Taiwan Friendship will help Taiwan participate in the second round of CPTPP negotiations.

Taiwan is currently seeking support from the existing members of the agreement to become a signatory to the deal. Eleven countries that make up about 13.4 percent of global gross domestic product -- Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam -- signed the trade agreement in early March. The deal came about after the United States pulled out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership that had been signed by the U.S. and the 11 countries.

Lai also stressed that Taiwan shares a common interest with Japan and the U.S. through its New Southbound Policy, conceived to reduce Taiwan's dependence on China and build ties with other countries in Southeast and South Asia, along with Australia and New Zealand.

He explained that the policy has a similar vision to U.S. President Donald Trump's Indo-Pacific Strategy, which reshapes America's approach to countries such as Japan, India and Australia, as well as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's increasing focus on India and Southeast Asian countries.

Lai said he hopes Taiwan and Japan can work more closely on industrial and economic exchanges as they eye future developments in Southeast Asia.

He also recognized the increased ties between Taiwan and Japan after Taiwan's Representative to Japan Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) assumed office in 2016.

Fourteen Taiwanese mayors or magistrates visited Japan last year, with 23 Japanese mayors or prefectural governors visiting Taiwan, Lai said.

The two countries inked 32 agreements that foster bilateral ties, while 6.46 million people traveled between the two sides, he said.

Saturday's summit, now in its fourth year, brought together 323 members in 40 prefectural assemblies around Japan and more than 100 city council delegations across Taiwan, the biggest ever.

(By Chen Chi-fon and Lee Hsin-Yin)
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