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
‘EFFECTIVE DETERRENCE’: If the Biden administration suspends arms sales to Taiwan, the military could still ready a nimble fighting force for defense, an analyst said The “US Strategic Framework for the Indo-Pacific” last week sparked debate among analysts after US President Donald Trump declassified the document 20 years ahead of schedule. Trump on Tuesday last week released the document that had governed US strategic action in the region since the US leader approved its use in 2018. The document, which outlines US priorities in the region, emphasizes the importance of defending Taiwan against military aggression and facilitating the country’s development of asymmetric strategies and capabilities. The overall directive of the document is for the US to prevent China from establishing sustained air and sea dominance inside the first
SECOND RULING: Israeli-American Oren Shlomo Mayer refused to sign a court transcript, complained about the court translator and said the trial had been unfair The High Court yesterday upheld New Taipei City District Court’s verdicts on four men convicted last year in connection with the 2018 murder and dismemberment of a Canadian citizen on the banks of the Sindian River (新店溪). It found American-Israeli Oren Shlomo Mayer and American Ewart Odane Bent guilty of homicide and the abandonment and destruction of a corpse, with Mayer sentenced to life in prison and Bent given a term of 12 years and six months, for the death of Sanjay Ryan Ramgahan, whose body parts were found in a riverside park under Zhongzheng Bridge in New Taipei’s Yonghe
ALLEVIATING FEARS: The CECC would only announce public places where it is difficult to identify everyone there at the same time as the couple, minister Chen said The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday announced six places where two locally infected COVID-19 cases had visited between Thursday last week and Sunday, urging people who had been at the places at the same time to monitor their health. The couple, cases 838, a doctor, and 839, his nurse girlfriend, were reported by the center on Tuesday. The doctor had treated a patient with COVID-19 last week before he began suffering symptoms on Friday, while the nurse began suffering symptoms on Saturday. They work in the same hospital in northern Taiwan, but the nurse had not worked with COVID-19 patients, so
A lawyer and a prosecutor yesterday castigated what they called a lenient ruling by the High Court on Luo Wen-shan (羅文山), whose prison sentence was reduced to two years, which he does not need to serve, after he was convicted for receiving illegal political donations from China to meddle in Taiwan’s elections. Investigators found that Luo, who retired from the army with the rank of lieutenant general, had accepted NT$8.38 million (US$294,604 at the current exchange rate) under the guise of political contributions from Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference member Xu Zhiming (許智明) and people in Hong Kong from 2008 to