China would consider joining a free-trade pact once championed by the US, but abandoned by US President Donald Trump, Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) said on Friday, as Beijing increasingly seeks to influence the global rules of commerce.
The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) is an updated version of a giant deal originally backed by former US president Barack Obama as an effort to counter China’s rising influence in Asia.
Trump pulled out of it after winning the presidency in 2016 as he turned away from what he viewed as unfavorable multilateral deals, but 11 countries eventually agreed to sign the new version.
Addressing an APEC summit, Xi said the grouping “must continue to promote regional economic integration and establish an Asia-Pacific free-trade zone at an early date.”
China “will actively consider joining” the CPTPP, he said, according to Chinese state media.
Trump attended this year’s virtual summit, the first time he has participated since 2017, as he continues to challenge his election defeat to US president-elect Joe Biden.
Xi’s comments came just days after Beijing and 14 other countries signed what would be the world’s biggest trade deal, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.
Taiwan has expressed an interest in joining the CPTPP, as it would be unlikely to gain membership in the China-dominated Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.
Singapore-based international trade expert Deborah Elms said that if China did join the trade pact, it might encourage others to follow.
“If Xi’s statement of interest is pushed forward in the coming weeks and months, it will, of course, lead to a lot of questions from current members, prospective members and others that are not thinking of CPTPP membership at all,” said Elms, executive director of the Asian Trade Centre.
Additional reporting by staff writer
‘HARD DECISION’: The international medical society now only refers to Taiwanese groups as from ‘Chinese Taipei,’ after the WHO asked that it make the change Two Taiwanese medical groups have been forced to change the word “Taiwan” in their membership names for the International Society of Radiographers and Radiological Technologists (ISRRT) to “Chinese Taipei,” due to a request by the WHO. The two groups are the Taiwan Society of Radiological Technologists (TWSRT) and the Taiwan Association of Medical Radiation Technologists (TAMRT). On Dec. 23 last year, the TAMRT posted on Facebook screenshots of a letter it received from the ISRRT, informing it that the two groups’ membership names would be changed from “Taiwan - TWSRT” and “Taiwan - TAMRT” to “Chinese Taipei - TWSRT” and “Chinese Taipei
‘NO MORE’: Pompeo’s decision was not rushed before the change of administration, but was the result of a long review of Taiwan-US ties, a US assistant secretary said US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Saturday announced that the US Department of State is voiding long-standing restrictions on how US diplomats and others have contact with their counterparts in Taiwan, just a little over a week before US president-elect Joe Biden is sworn in. Pompeo instructed executive branch agencies to consider “all ‘contact guidelines’ regarding relations with Taiwan ... to be null and void.” “For several decades the State Department has created complex internal restrictions to regulate our diplomats, service members, and other officials’ interactions with their Taiwanese counterparts,” Pompeo said in a statement. “The United States government took these actions
CONTACTS TRACED: The doctor and his nurse girlfriend, who also tested positive, have only mild symptoms, but their cases have led to hundreds of people being tested The first case of a doctor contracting COVID-19 after treating an infected patient was one of two locally transmitted cases and two imported cases reported by the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday. The second local case, No. 839, is the doctor’s girlfriend, a nurse who works at the same hospital. Case No. 838, a man in his 30s, is a doctor in a hospital in northern Taiwan that has been treating COVID-19 cases, said Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center. He was in a negative-pressure isolation ward where one of the confirmed patients was staying
DEPARTURE CEREMONY: Guam’s governor hailed the US’ move to end restrictions on contacts with Taiwanese officials, saying it would help the territory build ties with Taipei A humanitarian charter flight, carrying dozens of people who had either been stranded on Guam and Saipan amid border closures or were in need of medical treatment, arrived in Taiwan at 5:25pm yesterday. The flight, operated by China Airlines Ltd (中華航空), landed at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport with 47 passengers and 13 crew aboard. Five of the passengers had applied to local hospitals for treatment of tumors, heart arrhythmia or other conditions, and were approved by the Ministry of Health and Welfare, while four more are family members, Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), who is the spokesman