Tue, Jun 15, 2004 - Page 4 News List

Ma gives speech in South Korea

PERIPETATIC Recent criticism that the Taipei mayor does not concentrate on his job did not stop him giving a speech in Seoul yesterday on Asian integration

CNA , Taipei

Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said during a meeting in Seoul, South Korea yesterday that Taiwan's inclusion in regional integration is beneficial to all northeastern Asian countries.

In his speech titled, "The economic dynamics of Northeastern Asia" at the Asia Strategic Insight Round Table being held in the South Korean capital city, Ma said Taiwan is an important gateway to the huge market of mainland China and the best testing ground for information technology industries.

Ma said that in terms of regional integration in Northeastern Asia, all economic entities in the region, including mainland China, South Korea, Japan and Russia have cooperative relations with Taiwan.

Taking South Korea's digital content industry for example, he said South Korea will benefit the most if its companies cooperate with their counterparts from Taiwan to jointly crack the mainland Chinese market given that Taiwan and mainland China are inextricably close, including having the same language and culture.

For multinational businesses in Japan, Ma said, Taiwan can play a role as a bridge, linking buyers and sellers among Japan, Taiwan and China.

To Russia, which has a strong research base, Taiwan can offer its experience in marketing and expertise in merchandising of products, Ma said, adding that Taiwan is also a good testing ground for IT and other high-technology products.

He noted that Northeastern Asia is the most active and dynamic area in all economic blocks around the world and Taiwan, as part of the area, has maintained close connections with Japan, South Korea, China and Hong Kong, with about half of the island's trade conducted with these economies.

Meanwhile, Ma stressed that China is scheduled to be a member of the ASEAN Agreement in 2011 while Japan and South Korea will also follow suit. He said this kind of grouping will exert immense pressure on Taiwan, pointing out Taiwan will be marginalized if the situation is not properly handled.

Ma attended a closed-door luncheon hosted by South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun at the Presidential Blue House Monday in honor of all participants at the round table.

After the luncheon, Ma lauded President Roh for creating the "Roh Moo-hyun experience" in South Korea, bringing the nation's overall development to a new horizon. He said that the South Korean experience is worthy of Taiwan's emulation.

Besides attending the luncheon, Ma also met with Seoul Mayor Lee Myung-bak later Monday afternoon and toured major infrastructure construction projects in the city, including a river clean-up project, as well as visit the city's youth service agency and Internet cafe management agency.

He will also visit Busan to meet with that city's mayor and visit the main stadium where the 2002 Asian Games were held.

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