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United Daily News: China-Japan wrangling marginalizing Taiwan
Central News Agency
2014-07-07 09:40 PM
With tensions between China and Japan showing no signs of abating, Beijing and Tokyo are now trying to woo South Korea and North Korea, respectively, putting Taiwan at a disadvantage. Chinese President Xi Jinping recently led a high-powered 300-member delegation to South Korea, reversing Beijing's past practice of first visiting North Korea. The trip was clearly aimed at economics instead of politics, as seen when the two countries agreed to conclude a free trade pact by the end of this year. Getting no positive response from Seoul, Tokyo has taken the initiative to offer an olive branch to Pyongyang. Tokyo announced that it will ease economic sanctions on North Korea -- viewed by many as an attempt to weaken Beijing's influence over Pyongyang.

At a time when China and Japan are seeking support from South Korea and North Korea through economic incentives, Seoul has leaned toward Beijing and seized attractive economic benefits. This has left Taiwan in a very risky position, because the "pan-green" opposition led by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has blocked legislative approval of a Taiwan-China trade-in-services agreement, and negotiations on a bilateral merchandise trade agreement have hit a snag. China originally hoped to conclude the two pacts with Taiwan by the end of this year and then wrap up its FTA talks with South Korea next year. But with it strategy shifting to draw South Korea closer, Beijing has chosen to step up its FTA negotiations with Seoul. Should the China-South Korea FTA talks be completed by the end of this year, Taiwan's existing share of the Chinese market would be vulnerable, because 60 percent of Taiwan's exports to China overlap with those from South Korea. After Japan last week ended a ban on military fighting overseas, the DPP showed its delight, believing that Japan would "protect" Taiwan in the future. With the green camp blocking the crucial trade-in-services pact at the Legislature, however, the diplomatic jockeying between China and Japan has pushed Taiwan to the brink of marginalization.

We want to ask the DPP: Are you happy or worried about this? (Editorial abstract --July 7, 2014) (By Flor Wang)

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