Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe supports Taiwan’s bid to ink a free-trade agreement with his country and to join the emerging Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Council for Economic Planning and Development Minister Kuan Chung-ming (管中閔), said yesterday in Nusa Dua, Indonesia.
Kuan, spokesperson of the delegation led by former vice president Vincent Siew (蕭萬長) to the 21st APEC summit, relayed Abe’s message at a press conference after the summit’s conclusion.
Japan is among the 12 nations currently involved in the US-led TPP negotiations, with the aim to reach an agreement by the end of this year to become a building block for Asia-Pacific regional economic integration.
Abe expressed his support for further economic engagement with Taiwan bilaterally and multilaterally through the TPP mechanism when Siew sat down with him for a meeting on the sidelines of the APEC summit, Kuan said.
Later yesterday, in a Facebook post, Abe said that during his meeting with Siew, he expressed gratitude to Taiwan for the help the nation extended to Japan in the wake of the March 11, 2011, earthquake and the tsunami and disaster at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, and discussed with Siew how to deepen bilateral relations with Taiwan.
Siew also met with Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) and US Secretary of State John Kerry, as well as having an informal meeting with Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (李顯龍).
He also talked to the heads of state of New Zealand, Mexico, Australia and several other countries during the two-day summit, Kuan said.
At the center of his discussions with the leaders of the APEC forum was Taiwan’s willingness to negotiate with other countries in the region to sign an economic cooperation agreement and strengthen bilateral ties, Siew said.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that Siew, the special envoy of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to the APEC summit, has conveyed Ma’s regards to Abe during their meeting.
Ma has attached great importance to the “special partnership” between Taiwan and Japan and wished to strengthen bilateral cooperation in the fields of cultural and economic issues, Siew was quoted as saying.