China’s attempts to isolate Taiwan on the global stage would only hinder regional prosperity and stability, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) told the Yushan Forum in Taipei yesterday, calling on like-minded partners to stand with Taiwan.
The two-day forum is being hosted by the Taiwan-Asia Exchange Foundation and opened at the Grand Hyatt Taipei yesterday.
The first day of the forum, which has the theme “Deepening Progressive Partnerships in Asia,” was attended by representatives from Australia, Canada, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, South Korea, Thailand, the US and Vietnam.
Photo: Liu Hsin-de, Taipei Times
Tsai said she was glad to see that in its third year, the annual forum had become an important platform for regional dialogue.
She touted the achievements of the New Southbound Policy, saying that more than 50,000 students from the 18 countries covered by the policy are studying in Taiwan — nearly double the number in 2015 — while revenue from trade with those countries reached US$117 billion last year, an increase of nearly 20 percent from 2015, she said.
Last year, more than 150,000 patients from the countries sought medical services in Taiwan, while Taiwan also helped train more than 600 medical experts, she said.
Taiwan is happy and able to participate more in regional partnerships, Tsai said, adding that any efforts to make the world better should not be hindered by political pressure.
Taiwan is indispensable in making the Indo-Pacific region peaceful and prosperous, she said, calling on the foreign attendees to continue to stand with Taiwan.
Giving the first keynote speech at the forum, former Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper drew attention to the political and social upheavals in Western countries over the past few years, calling for a more inclusive economy with attention to social inequality.
Former US White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who resigned from the post in July and visited Taiwan for the first time, spoke at the luncheon meeting.
Discussing her experience in the White House, she said that US President Donald Trump took pride in his relations with leaders from different countries, including those in this region.
While Trump took heat for his “America first” initiative, other countries should also protect their national interests, Sanders said, adding that the US would still continue to stand with its friends.
Asked about the situation in Hong Kong during a brief meeting with reporters, she said it is everyone’s hope that the situation is handled peacefully and internally, adding that the US’ policy toward Hong Kong remains the same.
It is a “coincidence” that she is one of the several incumbent or former US officials who have visited Taiwan recently, Sanders said, when asked if their visits were a show of support for Tsai’s administration ahead of the Jan. 11 elections.
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