China has 'no right to interfere' in Taiwan-U.K. trade talks: MOFA
Taipei, July 5 (CNA) Taiwan's foreign ministry said Tuesday that the nation's trade engagement with other countries is not subject to China's approval, after Beijing reportedly issued a warning to the United Kingdom over its recent trade talks with a top Taiwanese trade official.
In a report on Monday, American news organization Politico said in its European edition that Taiwan's chief trade negotiator, John Deng (鄧振中), had met with his counterparts in London in mid-June to discuss bilateral trade and to learn from the U.K.'s experience in applying to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) trade bloc.
Following the meeting, however, Beijing issued a warning to London, reiterating its stance that Taiwan is part of the People's Republic of China (PRC) territory, according to Politico.
Asked to comment on the report, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) confirmed that Deng had met with British "economic and trade officials" during a visit to the U.K. last month.
Their discussions covered topics that included "the CPTPP and bilateral trade relations," Ou said, adding that MOFA was pleased to see the two countries enhancing their friendly relations and their economic and trade ties.
Regarding China's reported warning issued to the U.K., Ou said that only the popularly elected government of Taiwan can represent the people in the international community and engage in trade talks with other entities.
Taiwan has never been part of the PRC, and neither side of the Taiwan Strait is subordinate to the other, Ou said.
"The PRC, therefore, has no right to interfere in Taiwan's foreign relations," she said.
During Deng's U.K. visit June 16-18, he said in a CNA interview that he was there to meet with British politicians and scholars to learn from the U.K.'s experience in applying to join the CPTPP.
Deng said that during the meetings, he was told that CPTPP members were very meticulous in their review of membership applications and tended to ask for detailed responses to their questions.
"We have to be prepared for all kinds of questions that may be raised by CPTPP member states to facilitate Taiwan's accession," he said.
The CPTPP, which grew out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership after the U.S. left that pact in January 2017, is one of the world's biggest trade blocs, representing a market of 500 million people and accounting for 13.5 percent of global trade.
Its 11 signatories are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam.
Taiwan applied on Sept. 22 last year to join the CPTPP -- less than an a week after China submitted its application.
The U.K. was the first country to apply for CPTPP membership after the bloc was launched in 2018 with the initial 11 members. The U.K. submitted its official application in January 2021 and opened talks last June.
U.K. International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said last month that her country was hoping to conclude the CPTPP talks by the end of the year.
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