According to the Taiwanese administration, Taiwan's application to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) faces a "risk" if China enters first, indicating a potential political hurdle.
On Wednesday, Taiwan, the world's second-largest economy, formally applied to join less than a week after China.
Because China insists that Taiwan is part of "one-China" rather than a separate country, it is barred from several international organizations.
According to Taiwan's chief trade negotiator John Deng, China is always attempting to impede Taiwan's international engagement.
"As a result, if China joins first, Taiwan's case for membership should be quite risky. This is self-evident," he stated.
On Thursday, the island's defense ministry reported 19 Chinese air force jets came into Taiwan's air defense zone, including two nuclear-capable H-4 bombers, underscoring China's pressure on Taiwan. The Taiwanese air force raced to intercept them and warn them off.
China's air force flies above Taiwan's air defense zone on a near-daily basis, enraging Taipei.
Democracy in Taiwan
Taiwan has been eager to gain more support from other democracies, particularly in terms of trade connections.
Deng emphasized that Taiwan has a distinct "system" than China, citing Taiwan's democracy, the rule of law, open legislation, and respect for private property.
He claimed, however, that there was no direct link between Taiwan's application and China's.
Deng stated, "How mainland China reacts to this is a matter for them."
When asked about Taiwan's application to the trade treaty, Zhao Lijian, a spokeswoman for China's foreign ministry, restated the country's long-held position that Taiwan is a part of China.
Zhao stated, "We are adamantly opposed to any country having official ties with Taiwan, and to Taiwan entering into any official treaty or organization."
According to Deng, Taiwan, a major semiconductor producer, has applied to join the World Trade Organization (WTO) under the name of the Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen, and Matsu. Taiwan is a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) group.
"I want to emphasize that Taiwan is a sovereign and independent country. It has a name of its own. But for trade agreements, the moniker we've been using for years is the least divisive," Deng said.
The CPTPP application was submitted to the government of New Zealand, which is in charge of the paperwork.
Deng said he couldn't say when Taiwan would be allowed to join the CPTPP, but Britain's application was moving along the fastest.
In June, Britain initiated talks with the EU.
The initial 12-member Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was viewed as a vital economic counterweight to China's expanding power.
The TPP, however, was put on hold in early 2017 when then-US President Donald Trump withdrew the US from the agreement.
Canada, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam are all CPTPP.