Lawmakers of the ruling parties of Japan and Taiwan began holding online talks Friday over Taipei's bid to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement, which China has also applied to join.
The meeting, which involved politicians in charge of foreign and economic issues from Japan's Liberal Democratic Party and Taiwan's Democratic Progressive Party, will also likely cover economic security issues.
The move comes as the LDP has stepped up exchanges with the Taiwanese ruling party with the self-ruled island facing military pressure from an increasingly assertive China.
Japan, a member of the TPP, has said it welcomes Taiwan's application to take part in the trade deal and it sees no technical problem with it, while Beijing has expressed strong opposition to Taipei's move and has lodged a protest to it.
Taiwan submitted an application to join the 11-member regional trade pact in September, just days after mainland China filed its bid for membership.
To join the free trade deal, both China and Taiwan will need the unanimous approval of all 11 member countries -- Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.