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Taiwan’s request to join the Asia-Pacific region's biggest working trade deal, coming just days after China submitted its own bid, presents the member nations with a difficult choice: admit one, both or neither?

Both Beijing and Taipei have asked to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) in the past week. That creates the possibility of a long and politicized application process, with the members divided between democracies such as Japan, Australia and Canada pushing for Taiwan’s accession, and Southeast Asian nations keen to remain in China’s good graces, making them vulnerable to pressure from Beijing to thwart Taipei’s bid.

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