Sun, Nov 05, 2017 - Page 1 News List

James Soong to promote policy at APEC summit

ANCHOR:The PFP said the special envoy’s presence at the annual meeting should help raise awareness of the nation’s importance amid unease over North Korea

Staff writer, with CNA

President Tsai Ing-wen, left, listens as People First Party Chairman James Soong speaks at a news conference on Oct. 12.

Photo: Huang Yao-wei, Taipei Times

People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) is to promote the government’s New Southbound Policy at the APEC economic leaders’ meeting, PFP Legislator Lee Hung-chun (李鴻鈞) said yesterday.

As President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) special envoy, Soong is determined to demonstrate the nation’s strength at a time when the government is pushing the New Southbound Policy, said Lee, who is to accompany Soong to the yearly two-day APEC summit, which is to be held in Da Nang, Vietnam, on Saturday and Sunday next week.

Soong aims to impress on other APEC members Taiwan’s agricultural achievements, its capabilities in humanitarian assistance and its strength in disaster relief and the training of medical workers, Lee said.

“The New Southbound Policy is not only about doing business, but also about making friends,” Lee said. “The special envoy will take advantage of the occasion to promote Taiwan.”

The government initiated the New Southbound Policy in a bid to improve the nation’s ties with the 10 ASEAN member states and six South Asian countries, as well as Australia and New Zealand. The policy aims to reduce economic dependence on China.

Soong is scheduled to depart for the APEC summit on Tuesday next week.

It would be the second time that he serves as Tsai’s special envoy to an APEC summit, after he attended the yearly gathering in Lima last year.

In addition to promoting the New Southbound Policy, Lee said Soong’s presence at this year’s summit should help raise awareness among other leaders about Taiwan’s geographic importance at a time when geopolitical unease on the Korean Peninsula has sent ripples through the region.

Soong would promote the idea that Taiwan can serve as an anchor to stabilize the political situation in East Asia, Lee said, adding that Soong would help Taiwan improve its diplomatic ties with the region by emphasizing the nation’s freedom, democracy and economic clout.

In addition to Lee, Soong’s daughter, Angela Soong (宋鎮邁), is to be a member of the Taiwanese delegation.

Angela Soong is scheduled to meet US President Donald Trump’s wife, Melania, during the summit.

Lee said she is expected to make good use of her excellent English-language skills and ability to adapt to changes to make new friends there.

Taiwan joined APEC under the name Chinese Taipei in 1991 and has played an active role in the annual meetings with the aim of enhancing interactions with the organization’s other 20 members.

However, the nation’s president is not allowed to attend the meetings, due to objections by China.

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