Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen urged Australia to back Taiwan's bid to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) during a visit by Australian lawmakers.
During the meeting, Ms. Tsai said she seeks to bolster economic cooperation with Australia, recognizing Australia as Taiwan's largest energy provider and a major source of agricultural goods.
Ms. Tsai also thanked Australia for voicing the importance of maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait in major international gatherings and supporting Taiwan's international participation.
"In recent years, Australia has continued to play an important role in upholding peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific," she said. "For Taiwan and Australia, safeguarding a free and open Indo-Pacific is a common goal."
The visit comes as Australia has been working at recalibrating its relationship with China, which had been tense in recent years over disputes on the origin of COVID-19. In response, China imposed tariff barriers on several Australian exports, such as barley.
First formed in 2018, it is worth $203 billion (about $131.7 billion) in two-way trade to Australia. Currently, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) states that the GDP of the trading bloc is $11.8 trillion and represents 14.2 percent of world trade.
CPTPP Not a 'Political Mechanism'Beijing views Taiwan as part of its territory, even though the island nation has been a self-governing democracy and has never been ruled by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The CCP opposes Taiwan's participation in any international organization, including the CPTPP.
Douglas Hsu, Taiwan's chief representative to Australia, has called on member nations of the CPTPP not to include "political considerations" when assessing Taiwan's application to join the trade bloc.
"After all, CPTPP is an economic and trade mechanism, not a political mechanism," Mr. Hsu added.
“Australia is one of the leaders in the international trade community. They are a strong advocate for the rules-based (trade order). Everybody knows, in the WTO, Australia is one of the leaders. So we hope that they can continue this spirit and consider Taiwan’s case."