China and Taiwan have targeted each other in another war of words over their separate bids to join a trans-Pacific trade pact with Beijing opposing Taipei’s attempt to join Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

Beijing called on the 11 members of the CPTPP to oppose the self-ruled island’s application, a move Taipei has called the act of an arch bully. 11 member countries in the CPTPP are in dilemma, as support for Taipei could affect their economic ties with Beijing, which also applied to join the pact last week.

Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen said on Friday that joining the CPTPP would reinforce Taiwan’s global trade status and build better connections with other nations. Taiwan had consulted with member nations of the pact, and made necessary legal amendments over recent years, she said.

Taipei officially submitted its application on Wednesday to join the partnership as “the Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu (Chinese Taipei)” – the same title it uses in the World Trade Organization, of which Beijing is also a member.

Also on Thursday, Taiwan said as many as 24 mainland Chinese warplanes – including 18 fighter jets, two bombers, two anti-submarine aircraft, a transport and an electronic warfare plane – entered its southwestern air defence zone.

“The Chinese government only wants to bully Taiwan in the international community, and it is the arch criminal of the increased cross-strait hostility,” the island’s foreign ministry said, in a statement issued late on Thursday.

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