Tsai outlines goals of `New Southbound Policy' at forum
Taipei, Nov. 15 (CNA) President Tsai Ing-wen said Tuesday that the government is moving steadily forward in line with its "New Southbound Policy," and that it will pool its resources to promote related work in the short term.
She cited as examples the holding of exhibitions on Taiwan in major cities in Southeast Asia, strengthening the role of the Taiwan Agricultural Development Co., and strengthening recruiting campaigns for overseas Chinese students and students from the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN).
She expressed hope that through official exchanges, business investment and private cooperation, there will be more room for Taiwan's development.
The president made the remarks at a forum on dialogue between Taiwan and ASEAN that was co-sponsored by Taiwan resarch institute Prospect Foundation, the Indonesian Council on World Affairs and the Habibie Centre.
Tsai spoke of the three goals she hopes to achieve under the "New Southbound Policy" -- enhance understanding, promote bilateral exchanges and strengthen partnership relations -- with ASEAN, South Asia, Australia and New Zealand.
She said that Taiwan, located between Northeast Asia and Southeast Asia, has economic development that is complementary to the region.
ASEAN, with a population of more than 600 million, is Taiwan's second-largest trade partner, and is also Taiwan's second-largest export market, she said.
Taiwan also has frequent exchanges with ASEAN, Tsai said, adding that 40 percent of Taiwan's foreign students came from ASEAN countries last year.
"Taiwan will seek to cooperate with think tanks of all nations and improve understanding of their societies, economies and political environments," Tsai said.
"Taiwan will also invest in second-generation overseas Chinese, as they are the best bridge between Taiwan and local governments and societies," she added.
The government will also set aside NT$1 billion (US$31.43 million) for scholarships to encourage Taiwanese students to study in ASEAN countries and for students from ASEAN countries to come to Taiwan, the president said.
The second goal will be to develop bilateral exchanges, the president said, as well as pushing for exchanges of visits between high-ranking officials, and exchanges in culture, tourism, agriculture, medicine, science and technology.
Tsai said that Taiwan has already streamlined its visa procedures for people from ASEAN countries visiting Taiwan, noting that more than 120,000 tourists from ASEAN visited Taiwan in September, up 19 percent from the same period of last year.
The third goal will be to strengthen comprehensive partnership relations, she said, adding that the government will assist Taiwanese businesses to devise southbound strategies, expand cooperation in key areas of ASEAN and push for the signing of economic cooperation agreements with major trade partners.
Also attending the forum were Foreign Minister David Lee, Prospect Foundation Chairman Mark Chen and Indonesian Council on World Affairs Chairman Makarim Wibisono, as well as former ASEAN Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan. (Courtesy of CNA)