Nikkei Asia - 16 October 2021
Singapore backs Beijing’s CPTPP bid, Chinese ministry says
By Tsukasa Hadano and Takashi Nakano
Singapore has welcomed China’s application to join the CPTPP trade agreement, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said Friday.
Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong told Chinese President Xi Jinping in a call that day that Singapore "welcomes and supports" China’s application to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, "which will benefit the prosperity and development of the region," a Chinese statement said.
A release from the Singaporean Foreign Ministry did not mention any discussions regarding the CPTPP.
Xi expressed China’s willingness to help put the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership — a separate, broader trade agreement — into effect as scheduled.
Since China and Taiwan both applied to join the CPTPP in September, Xi has been working to win over the pact’s Southeast Asian and South American members. The Chinese Foreign Ministry has also said that Chilean Foreign Minister Andres Allamand said his country "firmly supports" China joining the CPTPP on a call with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi earlier in the week.
But countries like Australia and Canada, which are at odds with China over security issues, are believed to have reservations about Beijing joining the framework.
The CPTPP’s current members are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, New Zealand, Singapore and Vietnam. Admitting a new member requires unanimous agreement.