President Tsai Ing-wen opened the Ketagalan Forum: 2019 Asia-Pacific Security Dialogue Aug. 20 in Taipei City, reaffirming the government’s commitment to working with like-minded partners in advancing regional peace, prosperity and stability.
Economic, military and political conditions in the Asia-Pacific are rapidly changing, Tsai said. In light of this uncertainty, the government will continue creating opportunities for regional cooperation under the New Southbound Policy, she added.
A key plank in the government’s national development strategy, the NSP is enhancing Taiwan’s ties with the 10 Association of Southeast Asian Nations member states, six South Asian countries, Australia and New Zealand. Last year, the country’s trade with NSP target countries hit US$117 billion, up 6 percent year on year.
According to Tsai, authoritarian forces are seeking to exploit the freedom and openness of democratic societies to nefarious ends. As a bastion of democracy in the Asia-Pacific, Taiwan will continue to stand in opposition to such efforts and in support of human rights, she said.
These values must be protected by ensuring regional and global security, Tsai said. They are inseparable from Taiwan’s security and prosperity, which will be safeguarded by government efforts to bolster the indigenous defense industry and enhance defensive capabilities.
Organized by Taipei-headquartered think tank The Prospect Foundation, the daylong dialogue involved top academics, officials and experts such as Australia’s ex-Defense Minister Christopher Pyne, Deputy Foreign Minister Hsu Szu-chien and former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense Lt. Gen. Wallace C. Gregson. (CPY-E)
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