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Mon, Nov 20, 2000 - Page 3 News List

Premier hopes to boost ASEAN ties

CNA , TAIPEI

Premier Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊雄) said Taiwan should seek to bolster bilateral relations with member nations of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and become a dialogue partner in that regional group.

Chang said that under the government's strenuous efforts, Taiwan intends to double its GNP in the next 10 years, bolstered by a knowledge-based economy, which will be driven mainly by scientific and technological development.

In the meantime, Chang noted, Taiwan will continue to strengthen its bilateral ties with neighboring countries, including ASEAN members, through closer economic and cultural exchanges.

Chang made the remarks while addressing a dinner hosted by the Taiwan Research Institute, a local think tank, in honor of academics and specialists from around the world who were in Taipei to attend an international symposium on relations between Taiwan and ASEAN held over the weekend.

Chang noted that Taiwan and ASEAN members have long maintained close relations. He said large numbers of Taiwanese tourists chose to holiday in Southeast Asian countries, while large numbers of ASEAN citizens work in Taiwan to help with economic development and household work.

Further, the government's "Go South" policy (南向政策) of encouraging Taiwanese businesses to increase investment in Southeast Asia has helped cement ties, he said.

Chang stressed the importance of the symposium, saying that substantive relations between Taiwan and ASEAN countries will be further bolstered because of it, which hopefully will help Taiwan accelerate interactions with the regional group with the aim of eventually becoming a dialogue partner.

Lin Bi-chao (林碧炤), director of the Taiwan Research Institute's Division of Strategy and International Studies, was also upbeat about the significance of the symposium, saying that it will help expedite bilateral exchanges between Taiwan and ASEAN countries and narrow their differences.

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