The US supports Taiwan’s full membership in APEC, a US official said in Taipei on Tuesday.
“The US always is supportive of ensuring that Taiwan’s full membership [in APEC] is never impeded, and I think there are many other economies who feel the same way and have the same reaction,” US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State and Ambassador for APEC Matthew Matthews said during an interview.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) was on Tuesday quoted by the Chinese-language Liberty Times (sister newspaper of the Taipei Times ) as saying in an interview that China was attempting to block Taiwan’s participation at the APEC meeting in Papua New Guinea in November.
China has stepped up efforts to suppress Taiwan in the diplomatic sphere by luring away the nation’s diplomatic allies and trying to block its participation in international forums, including APEC, Wu said.
Beijing is trying to introduce its “one China” principle, which sees Taiwan as part of its territory, into APEC’s framework, he added.
However, Beijing’s attempts were rejected by the US and Japan, the newspaper cited Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Wang Ting-yu (王定宇) as saying.
When asked to comment on the report, Matthews did not directly confirm that the US and Japan blocked the proposal, instead stressing the support in Washington and other countries for Taiwan’s full membership in APEC.
“APEC members are supportive of Taiwan, because Taiwan is a constructive participant in APEC, and it adheres to its requirements within APEC,” Matthews said.
Taiwan brings “very positive capabilities” to bear in the discussions and the work done in APEC, he said.
“What are we doing in APEC? We’re basically trying to reduce barriers to trade and investment to create greater prosperity in the region, and Taiwan has a lot of best practices and a lot of capabilities that help us do that,” he added.
Taiwan in 1991 joined APEC as a full member under the name “Chinese Taipei” and has since played an active role in the annual meetings, seeking to enhance interaction with the other 20 members, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.
Before his visit to Taipei, which concluded yesterday, Matthews said he would meet with Taiwanese authorities to discuss this year’s APEC priorities and other economic matters of mutual concern.
Some of the issues to be discussed included trade in the digital economy to ensure a free and open digital economy throughout APEC, he said.
The US and Taiwan are also working to facilitate trade and empower women economically within the APEC framework so that the benefits of economic activity can be spread as broadly as possible across member nations, Matthews said.
He said he met with the Taiwanese delegation to the APEC Women and the Economy Forum held early this month in Papua New Guinea.
One of the top priorities for Taiwan and the US is to help Chile, next year’s APEC host, on the body’s Women in STEM — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — framework, Matthews said.
“We have a lot of specialists in that area in the United States, but so does Taiwan, because Taiwan is a high-tech powerhouse, an engineering powerhouse, so we discussed how we can both work together to support Chile in making sure they have a very successful Women in STEM program next year,” he said.
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