Gov’t to resume economic ties with Taiwan
By Park Si-soo
Korea is in talks with Taiwan over allowing bilateral private investment, part of moves to reestablish economic ties with its Asian neighbor that were severed when the country establish diplomatic relations with China in 1992.
“We had the first round of talks to sign the Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) with Taiwan in Taipei on June 21,” said Choi Seok-young, chief free trade agreement negotiator at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. “We discussed basic factors during the talks. Detailed issues regarding the pact will be discussed in October.”
A spokesman at the ministry said that the negotiations don’t necessarily mean that the two nations will try to reestablish diplomatic relations.
Choi claimed that the talks began at the ``repeated and consistent’’ request of Taiwan but said a free trade agreement (FTA) isn’t on the table.
He added the government faced no complaints about the talks from China. However, he refused to give a clear answer to a flurry of questions over why the government is seeking to reestablish economic ties with Taiwan at a time when Seoul’s FTA talks with Beijing are underway. He did stress that the BIT discussions are “not politically motivated.”
Despite the broken off diplomatic relations, Seoul has maintained close trade and civil ties with the self-ruled island country. Two-way trade between the two nations was worth $32.9 billion last year.