President Chen urges US, Japan to consider FTAs with Taiwan

Wednesday October 26, 2005

President Chen Urges US, Japan to Consider Ftas With Taiwan

TAIPEI, Oct 26 Asia Pulse - President Chen Shui-bian on Tuesday urged the United States and Japan to consider signing free trade agreements with Taiwan, saying that only by having such agreements in place can the island’s economy stand without heavily depending on China and can security and peace in the Asia-Pacific region be maintained.

The president made the appeal while receiving at the Presidential Office representatives from the United States and Japan who are in Taiwan to take part in the symposium on "U.S.-Taiwan-Japan Strategic Dialogue" being held at the Westin Taipei.

Chen also said that he feels great regret that Taiwan’s head of state has been excluded from participating in the non-political economic summit of the Asian-Pacific Economic and Cooperation (APEC) forum in Busan, South Korea Nov. 18-19 as "APEC is an important cooperation mechanism in the region."

According to Chen, even though Taiwan has sent its representatives to take part in the APEC informal summit meeting, Beijing can still veto their participation.

"This is unbelievable since APEC belongs to all of its members rather than China," he added.

Talking about U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick’s remarks made in a speech he delivered last month at a U.S. think tank that China should serve as an "interested party" in the international mechanism, the president said that "Taiwan affirms and supports what Zoellick said about the role China should play in the international mechanism."

However, Chen added that China’s rise must be peaceful and accompanied by democratic development, saying that only then can China serve as an "interested party" in the international community.

Pointing out that he doesn’t want to see Taiwan become the only country not to have an FTA with the United States, the president called for the United States and Japan to consider signing such agreements with Taiwan.

Touching on issues related to cooperation among the three countries, Chen expressed his gratitude for what the United States and Japan did during their Security Consultation Committee meeting held in Washington, D.C. in February of this year to include " issues concerning the Taiwan Strait as one of their common strategic goals.

Concluding the meeting, the U.S. and Japan officials had listed "encouraging the peaceful resolution of issues concerning the Taiwan Strait through dialogue" in their join statement as part of their common strategic objectives in the Asia-Pacific region.

"Taiwan appreciates and supports what the United States and Japan did and will fully cooperate with them, " he further said, adding that "it is therefore important for Taiwan to contemplate ways of how to reinforce its cooperation with the United States and Japan in order to establish a normal mechanism of collective security dialogue among the three nations."

Meanwhile, he said that the Anti-Secession Law passed by China in March of this year as well as the European Union’s consideration of lifting its ban on arms exports to China go against the common strategic goals of the U.S.-Japan Security Consultation Commitee meeting.

(CNA)

source: Asia Pulse