Britain has been warned that Taiwan is an “inseparable part of China” after holding one-on-one trade talks with a senior Taiwanese trade official.
Taiwan’s top trade negotiator met with his British counterparts in mid-June to discuss bilateral trade between the two countries and receive advice on the Asian island nation’s offer to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership trading bloc. (CPTPP) from 11 nations. .
But Beijing sounded a warning in the direction of 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,” a Chinese diplomatic spokesman said. The Chinese Communist Party considers “reunification with Taiwan,” an autonomous island, a key political goal.
Deng met with “economic and trade officials” from the British government during his visit to London between June 16 and 18, a spokesperson for the UK Taipei Representative Office confirmed to POLITICO. Their discussions covered “topics including CPTPP and trade relations,” they added.
Britain’s Commerce Department, which did not make the meeting public, confirmed that Deng met with British economic and trade officials, but did not elaborate on the discussions.
The two countries are working to increase their trade ties and Taiwan is seeking advice from Britain as it also works to access the CPTPP.
Britain has been working on the CPTPP accession process since submitting its application in early 2021. Official-level talks on its application were held in Sydney in June, with more meetings expected in Tokyo in July.
Taiwan submitted a formal application to join the CPTPP last September, a week after Beijing submitted an application to join the group. China has claimed Taiwan ever 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 growing opposition to Beijing from top Conservative lawmakers.
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss told Times Radio late last week that the world needs to “learn lessons from Ukraine” regarding Taiwan. The free world, she said, must “make sure that Taiwan has the ability to defend itself, that we continue to maintain peace across the Taiwan Strait.”
China has said it “resolutely” opposes Taiwan’s efforts to become a member of the CPTPP. The Beijing Taiwan Affairs Office warned against “any country with a diplomatic relationship with [China] negotiate and sign with Taiwan any agreement that has a meaning of sovereignty and is of an official nature”.
Total trade in goods and services between Britain and Taiwan stood at £8.3 billion in 2021.
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.