UK risks Chinese anger over trade talks with Taiwan – POLITICO

LONDON — Britain has been warned that Taiwan is an “inseparable part of China” after one-on-one trade talks with a top Taiwanese official.

Taiwan’s chief trade negotiator met with his British counterparts in mid-June to discuss bilateral trade between the two countries and to seek advice on the Asian island’s bid to join the 11-nation Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans- Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

But Beijing sounded a warning towards London after Taipei Minister John Deng’s meeting with British officials.

“Taiwan is an inseparable part of China, it is not a country universally recognized by the international community,” said a Chinese diplomatic spokesman. The Chinese Communist Party considers ‘reunification with Taiwan’, a self-governing island, as an important policy goal.

Deng met “economic and trade officials” of the British government during his visit to London between June 16 and 18, a spokesman for the Taipei Representative Office in the UK confirmed to POLITICO. Their discussions covered “topics such as CPTPP and trade relations,” she added.

The British trade department – ​​which did not publish the meeting – confirmed that Deng had met with British economic and trade officials, but declined to comment on the talks.

The two countries are working to strengthen their trade ties and Taiwan is asking Britain for advice as it also seeks to join the CPTPP.

Britain has been in the process of joining CPTPP since it filed its application in early 2021. Official talks on the application were held in Sydney in June and further meetings are expected in Tokyo in July.

Taiwan formally applied to join CPTPP last September, a week after Beijing applied to join the group. China has laid claim to Taiwan since Chinese Communist Party rivals fled there and claimed the island as a sovereign state after losing the country’s civil war in 1949.

The meeting comes at a sensitive time for UK-China relations amid mounting opposition to Beijing from leading conservative lawmakers.

Secretary of State Liz Truss told Times Radio late last week that the world should “learn lessons from Ukraine” regarding Taiwan. The free world, she said, must “ensure that Taiwan has the ability to defend itself, that we continue to maintain peace in the Taiwan Strait.”

China has said it “resolutely” opposes Taiwan’s attempts to join the CPTPP. Beijing’s Taiwan Affairs Office warned against “any country with diplomatic relationship with” [China] negotiate and sign with Taiwan any agreement that has sovereignty and is official in nature.”

Total trade in goods and services between Great Britain and Taiwan was £8.3bn in 2021.

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