President Tsai Ing-wen said Oct. 11 that the government’s New Southbound Policy is committed to forging mutually beneficial ties, generating economic growth and improving the welfare of the people in the region.
The president made the remarks at the Yushan Forum, held Oct. 11-12 in Taipei City and organized by the Taipei-headquartered nonprofit think tank Prospect Foundation. The forum, also known as the Asian Dialogue for Innovation and Progress, is themed Fostering Economic and Social Connectivity with Southeast and South Asia.
Some 800 public and private sector representatives from more than a dozen nations are participating in the two-day forum. The event includes keynote speeches and panel discussions on issues spanning economy and trade, technological innovation as well as partnerships between nongovernmental organizations and private companies in New Southbound Policy target countries.
“Taiwan has always played an indispensable role in the development of Asia,” Tsai said, adding that given the rapid pace of economic, social and political changes around the world, the nation needs to play a more prominent role by working with other like-minded countries to expand ties in South and Southeast Asia.
Under the initiative, five flagship projects work to strengthen international collaboration in innovative industries; medical cooperation and industrial supply chains; policy forums and youth exchange platforms; regional agriculture; and talent cultivation.
“Not only will these programs further entrench our presence in New Southbound countries, they will also help sustain the momentum we’ve created over the past year,” Tsai said, citing ongoing government efforts such as providing scholarships, promoting bilateral trade and investment as well as relaxing visa restrictions for the policy’s target countries.
The president also highlighted the government’s five commitments to regional neighbors. In addition to talent cultivation efforts aimed at turning Taiwan into a hub for talent development, the nation will also share experiences and resources to help the initiative’s target countries establish domestic industries, she said.
Taiwan will assist New Southbound countries with major infrastructure and development programs, the president said. The government will also help local small and medium enterprises and NGOs share knowledge and experiences, placing particular emphasis on creating more job opportunities, Tsai added.
Finally, Taiwan will join forces with other like-minded countries to jointly strengthen their common presence in the region. “We believe this will benefit peace, stability and prosperity, both here in the region and around the world,” she said. (KWS-E)
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