President Tsai Ing-wen opened the Ketagalan Forum: 2018 Asia-Pacific Security Dialogue July 24 in Taipei City, vowing to advance peace, stability and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific while defending rules-based international order.
Since the inaugural forum last year, the economic, military and political dynamics in the Asia-Pacific have evolved rapidly, Tsai said. This has created new opportunities and brought challenges undermining the shared democratic values of countries in the region and global security, she added.
According to Tsai, the government is fully aware that regional and global security are inseparable from Taiwan’s own safety and prosperity. This is why it is committed to building a robust military by adjusting related expenditures in accordance with national needs and economic growth, as well as developing an indigenous defense industry, she said.
At the same time, the government is continuing efforts to expand cooperation with like-minded countries, Tsai said. Case in point is the recent decision by the U.S. to green-light marketing licenses for firms that can assist Taiwan build its own submarines, she added.
The New Southbound Policy is another example, Tsai said. Under the initiative, Taiwan has attracted the region’s best and brightest to its universities, helped NSP target countries build capacity in agriculture, public health and technology, and staged training programs to promote people-to-people exchanges, she added.
A key plank in the government’s national development strategy, the NSP seeks to bolster Taiwan’s agricultural, business, cultural, education, tourism and trade ties with the 10 Association of Southeast Asian Nations member states, six South Asian countries, Australia and New Zealand.
A partnership also producing benefits for the region is the Taiwan-U.S. Global Cooperation and Training Framework, Tsai said. Since the project’s launch in 2015, both sides have co-hosted events with experts from 32 countries and territories spanning issues like energy, global health security, humanitarian assistance and women’s empowerment, she added.
Organized by Taipei-headquartered nonprofit think tank Prospect Foundation, the one-day seminar attracted around 20 top officials, academics and experts to discuss issues connected to the Korean Peninsula and challenges to the democratic world from China’s sharp power. It also featured a keynote speech by former U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter and a special roundtable on the integration of the NSP and the U.S. Indo-Pacific strategy. (SFC-E)
Write to Taiwan Today at firstname.lastname@example.org