Written by Venkat Raman
Taiwan is committed to promoting sustainable regional prosperity by fostering collaboration under the New Southbound Policy (NSP), President Tsai Ing-wen has said.
“Asia has emerged as the world’s economic growth engine, but stands at a historic juncture amid rising tensions between global powers and increasing demands for inclusive development,” she said, speaking at the inaugural session of the Yushan Forum organised by the Taiwan Asia-Exchange Foundation (TAEF) held in Taipei on October 11, 2018.
Ms Tsai said that meeting these challenges requires collective action and Taiwan can be a driving force for cooperation.
Mutual help and cooperation
“Taiwan can help Asia and Asia can help Taiwan,” she said.
The two-day forum comprised keynote addresses and panel discussions exploring collaborative opportunities in Agriculture, Culture, Education, Health Care and Talent Cultivation.
Among the speakers were US Environmental Protection Agency Principal Deputy Assistant Administrator Jane Nishida, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Kailash Satyarthi of India and Frederik Willem de Klerk, Former President of South Africa.
Ms Tsai described the Forum as a unique platform for advancing collaboration and celebrating diversity, innovation and progressive values. It also provides an opportunity to review Taiwan’s success in expanding ties with regional partners through the NSP, she said.
She said that the NSP has yielded positive results across a broad spectrum of areas, with bilateral trade with target countries growing by 15% last year and Taiwan’s investment in the nations rising by 54% during the same period.
She highlighted Taiwan’s efforts to help NSP countries build capacity in fields spanning agriculture, information and communication technology and public health.
Progress in this connection is evidenced by the signing of 69 MoUs and Letters of Intent between Taiwan public and private sector organizations and NSP counterparts in 2017.
Empowering the Region
Under the policy, Taiwan is also empowering the region’s best and brightest, Ms Tsai said.
About 41,000 students from NSP countries were enrolled in Taiwan tertiary institutions in the first half of 2018, while the number of Taiwanese studying in these countries increased by 20 percent last year, she added.
“Tourism exchanges have similarly registered impressive gains, as Taiwan welcomed more than four million visitors from NSP countries over the past two years. Growing people-to-people connections are forging greater regional communication and understanding.”
Testament of Commitment
According to her, the Yushan Forum is a testament to Taiwan’s commitment to the NSP. It also spotlights the continued efforts of the government, private sector and civil society in Taiwan to enhance sustainable prosperity. The collective solutions explored at the event can help shape a brighter future for the region.
Closer ties with ASEAN
A key plank in Tsai’s National Development Strategy, the NSP seeks to deepen Taiwan’s Agricultural, Business, Cultural, Education, Tourism and Trade ties with the 10 Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states, six South Asian countries, Australia and New Zealand.
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