Sun, Nov 12, 2017 - Page 1 News List

Taiwan seeks to deepen ASEAN ties through knowledge-sharing channels

BLOC:Taiwan is hoping to share its research on ‘smart’ agriculture, climate-related disasters and infectious disease control to enhance connections in the region

Staff writer, with CNA, Da Nang, Vietnam

US President Donald Trump, center left, shakes hands with Taiwan’s special envoy to APEC James Soong at the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Da Nang, Vietnam, yesterday.

Photo courtesy of Taiwan’s APEC delegation

Taiwan’s APEC representative on Friday expressed the nation’s intention to deepen cooperation and exchanges with ASEAN members in education, information and communications, healthcare, agriculture, infrastructure, and disaster prevention and rescue.

James Soong (宋楚瑜), Taiwan’s special envoy to this year’s APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Vietnam, expressed the desire during an informal dialogue between APEC and ASEAN leaders, which was held as part of the annual summit for the first time.

The dialogue is aimed at providing an opportunity for exchanges between APEC and ASEAN members.

Among the 10 ASEAN countries, Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia are not members of APEC.

At the meeting, Soong said that Taiwan maintains close trade and investment ties with ASEAN and that 25 percent, or 29,000, of the foreign students studying in Taiwan, are from ASEAN countries, said National Development Council Minister Chen Mei-ling (陳美伶), who also attended the summit.

As part of efforts to enhance its relations with ASEAN based on the principles of cooperation and reciprocity, Taiwan offers 5,000 scholarships to students from the region each year, in addition to courses tailored to their needs and corporate internship opportunities, Soong said.

Taiwan is hoping to share with ASEAN its experience in “smart” agriculture and combating climate-related disasters and infectious diseases such as dengue fever and the Zika virus, he said.

Soong said that Taiwan would introduce a US$3.5 billion financing program to help promote infrastructure development in Southeast Asia, in the hope of enhancing the nation’s relations with the region.

He also expressed Taiwan’s interest in participating in regional economic blocs, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership and Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.

According to Chen, Soong had the opportunity to shake hands and exchange greetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) after the meeting, Chen said.

Soong yesterday also shook hands with US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin before attending the APEC economic leaders’ meeting.

Due to China’s objections, Taiwan’s presidents are not able to attend the annual APEC summit, a high-profile gathering of leaders from 21 economies that include the US, Japan, Russia and China. Taiwan has to appoint envoys to attend the summit in place of the president.

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