President Tsai eyes expanded Indo-Pacific role for Taiwan

President Tsai Ing-wen said Sept. 29 that Taiwan will continue cooperating with like-minded countries in promoting peace, stability and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific.
As a nation that treasures freedom and democracy, Taiwan is willing and able to work with key stakeholders in consolidating these values throughout the region, she said. This approach, which lies at the heart of the U.S. Indo-Pacific strategy, will be a critical force driving development of the Indo-Pacific for years to come, she added.
Tsai made the remarks during her opening address at the Asia-Pacific Think-tank Summit in Taipei City. Organized by locally headquartered Institute for National Policy Research, the two-day event attracted experts from around 15 countries and territories to discuss current and emerging challenges impacting regional development.
According to Tsai, the U.S. Indo-Pacific strategy will help strengthen multilateral cooperation in the areas of economy, infrastructure and investment. This is particularly important given recent related developments in the region, she said, citing trade disputes between global powers and the increasing military threat posed by China.
At the same time, Tsai said, Taiwan is combating a coordinated disinformation campaign designed to discredit the nation and its democratic way of life. There is no question that fake news poses a real threat to good governance in the Indo-Pacific, she added.
Tsai said the most effective way of mitigating the impact of this cynical tactic is to establish a joint policy platform for the region’s academics and experts to band together and hash out viable answers to the tough questions.
Examples of government efforts in this regard, Tsai said, include the recent establishment of the Institute for National Defense and Security Research.
Launched May 1 by Tsai in Taipei, the state-backed institute is devising approaches for managing changes in the strategic situation, promoting initiatives for attracting top-flight research talent, and spurring overseas dialogue, exchanges and interaction on associated issues.
Another organization at the vanguard of Taiwan’s drive to safeguard international rules-based order is the Taiwan-Asia Exchange Foundation, Tsai said. Since opening June 1, the foundation has further advanced the New Southbound Policy while taking the lead in organizing significant global gatherings such as the annual Yushan Forum, she added.
The NSP is enhancing 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. It is seen as the government’s most effective policy for advancing Taiwan’s engagement with the Indo-Pacific while promoting peace, stability and prosperity. (SFC-E)

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