President Tsai Ing-wen said Aug. 19 that Taiwan is committed to expanding cooperation with Australia as part of efforts to safeguard freedom, democracy and rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific.
Australia and Taiwan are on the same page when it comes to promoting peace, stability and prosperity in the region, Tsai said. The government anticipates deepening relations with its like-minded partner so as to further advance sustainable development and strengthen security in the Indo-Pacific, she added.
Tsai made the remarks while receiving Australia’s former Defense Minister Christopher Pyne at the Presidential Office in Taipei City. Pyne is visiting Taiwan to deliver a keynote address Aug. 20 at the Ketagalan Forum: 2019 Asia-Pacific Security Dialogue.
Organized by The Prospect Foundation, the daylong dialogue features a top-notch lineup of speakers such as Tsai, Deputy Foreign Minister Hsu Szu-chien, former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense Lt. Gen. Wallace C. Gregson and a host of other academics and experts from across the region.
According to Tsai, Taiwan and Australia enjoy robust trade and investment relations. Since the government took office in May 2016, Taiwan has become Australia’s seventh-largest export market and 14th biggest trading partner, she said.
Foreign policy is another area in which the countries share overlapping interests. The New Southbound Policy dovetails with Australia’s New Colombo Plan, Tsai said, adding that both initiatives are bolstering cooperation and exchanges across the board with Indo-Pacific countries.
A key plank in the government’s national development strategy, the NSP seeks to deepen 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.
Tsai also took the opportunity to thank Pyne on behalf of the government and people for Australia’s support of Taiwan in the global arena.
As an indispensable member of the international family of nations and a champion of freedom and democracy, Tsai said, Taiwan will keep working with Australia to create a more free and open Indo-Pacific for the benefit of all. (SFC-E)
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