Taiwan signed a trade partnership agreement with Britain on Wednesday, a move it hopes will help boost its bid to join a major Asia-Pacific trade bloc despite China's objection.
Taipei applied in 2021 to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), which has been seen as a bulwark against Chinese dominance in the region.
Its bid was opposed by Beijing, which claims the self-ruled island as part of its territory and has submitted its own application to join.
Britain signed a formal agreement to join the CPTPP in July, which is expected to come into force next year, and Taiwan's government has been lobbying members of the bloc for support.
Taipei said the new Enhanced Trade Partnership (ETP) Arrangement would boost its long-term trade partnership with Britain and help promote its inclusion in the bloc.
"The UK will become a new member of the CPTPP, and improving economic and trade relations with the UK is of great significance to our efforts seeking membership," Taiwan's top trade negotiator John Deng said in a statement.
He said the deal would boost Taiwan's international trade status and "the confidence of other countries in the world to interact with us".
Discussions would begin soon on digital trade, investment, renewable energy and net-zero carbon emissions, the statement said.
Taiwan's foreign ministry said in a statement the deal would help "strengthen global economic security and supply chain resilience, and maintain a free and open international trade order".
Britain, like most countries, diplomatically recognises China over Taiwan but maintains unofficial ties with the island.
Beijing lashes out at any diplomatic action that might lend Taiwan legitimacy and opposes Taipei joining international organisations, including the World Health Organization.
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