Taiwan should adopt a pragmatic strategy to its participation in ASEAN and China should stop intervening in Taiwan’s regional economic cooperation with other countries, Vice President Vincent Siew (蕭萬長) said yesterday.
The country’s participation in ASEAN would create a win-win situation for Taiwan and the organization in pushing peace and stability in the region and economic development, he said.
“Regional economic integration has become a global trend and Taiwan must participate in ASEAN with a pragmatic attitude,” Siew said in a speech delivered at a forum held on the issue of free-trade agreements (FTA) between Taiwan and East Asian countries in Taipei.
ASEAN, established in 1967, aims to accelerate economic growth, social progress and cultural development in the region and to promote regional peace. It comprises Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar. Arguing that a Taiwan-ASEAN free trade pact would be beneficial to both sides, Siew said that Taiwan ranks as the third largest source of foreign investment in Thailand and Cambodia and the largest source in Vietnam, with investment amounting to US$1.8 billion last year alone, up 630 percent over the previous year. Taiwanese investment in Singapore last year reached US$1.2 billion, up 46 percent, with the figure for the Philippines rising 878 percent to US$200 million, he added.
All these statistics clearly illustrate that Taiwan has brought technological development and job opportunities to the region and that the importance of this bilateral cooperation has been increasing significantly, Siew said.
Siew said Taiwan has expressed many times its wish to join ASEAN, but was rejected because of obstructions from China. He urged the Chinese government to soften its stance.
“China should change its rigid policies and stop interfering in Taiwan’s participation in regional economic cooperation,” he said.
Siew said the government would improve its relations with China and try to sign an FTA with China, seeking to reduce obstructions when negotiating with ASEAN members in the future.
Siew said Taiwan’s GDP could get a significant boost if it were allowed to join the ASEAN plus three (China, Japan and South Korea), or if a cross-strait FTA were inked. He said that Taiwan’s economy would suffer greatly if the country fails to join ASEAN before it expands into ASEAN plus six, with India, Australia and New Zealand also joining.
Siew stressed that Taiwan would use its geographical and transportation advantages to promote the development of peace and stability in the region and at the same time maintain its practical approach to achieving greater economic integration with the region to the benefit of all parties involved.
A former ASEAN secretary-general, Rodolfo Severino, suggested in the forum that Taiwan should join the ASEAN as an “economic entity,” rather than as a sovereign country. The economic relations between Taiwan and Southeast Asian countries were complicated, and ASEAN was also pondering on how to include both China and Taiwan in the organization, he said.
Severino said Southeast Asian countries understood the economic strength of Taiwan, and wanted to strengthen economic ties. However, Taiwan would not be able to join ASEAN if the country failed to adopt a pragmatic strategy.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY CNA
PILLAGING PENGHU: A 7,539-tonne Chinese ship found mining sand in the Formosa Banks area was escorted by several CGA ships to a Kaohsiung harbor The Coast Guard Administration (CGA) yesterday announced that it had dispatched ships to intercept Chinese dredging vessels operating in the nation’s territorial waters near Penghu and detained 10 crew members, who were transported to Kaohsiung. A coast guard patrol discovered more than 20 dredging vessels in an area known as the Formosa Banks, 46 nautical miles (85km) southwest of Penghu County’s Cimei islet (七美) at about 5am on Wednesday. The agency responded by dispatching two patrol boats, the 3,000-tonne Kaohsiung and the 500-tonne Penghu, along with two frigates, to intercept the Chinese vessels, while an airborne observation unit was used to monitor
‘HONEYMOON’ IS OVER: A political science professor said that the Tsai administration’s popularity peaked after it successfully contained COVID-19, but is waning President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) and Premier Su Tseng-chang’s (蘇貞昌) approval ratings fell significantly this month in the wake of the government’s handling of the distribution of relief funds and stimulus coupons to people and businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, a poll released yesterday by the New Power Party (NPP) showed. The poll showed that 68 percent of respondents said they were satisfied with Tsai’s performance, down 8.9 percentage points from last month, while 21 percent said they disapproved of her performance. Her approval among respondents aged 20 to 29 fell 14.7 percentage points, the largest decrease when compared with other age
CAUTION: The CECC would first observe how the nation fares after easing domestic restrictions and wait for the pandemic to further subside before making its next move The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday said that relaxing domestic restrictions and border controls simultaneously might complicate efforts to reopen the nation, amid discussions about Taiwan’s exclusion by other countries in their first lists of tourists. The center hopes for there to be a period of observation following the easing of domestic restrictions, before it decides what to do next, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, told a daily news briefing in Taipei. Chen was responding to a question about the reasoning behind the central government’s decision not to allow foreign students into the
Taiwan respects other countries’ decisions not to include it in their first lists of tourists allowed entry when they reopen their borders, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday. The Yomiuri Shimbun on Sunday reported that the Japanese government was considering reopening the country to tourists from Thailand, Vietnam, Australia and New Zealand first. Greece on Friday announced that from June 15, it would allow visitors from 29 countries, including Australia, China, the Czech Republic, Japan, Israel, New Zealand, South Korea and Germany. Japan has not yet finalized its visitor list, but the ministry has conveyed its hope that Tokyo would