Former US president Bill Clinton on Sunday night had nice words for the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA), but said every country should maintain a “diversity of business partners.”
During the question-and-answer part of his speech, Clinton said that people who fear Taiwan becoming economically over-dependent on China should keep in mind that Taiwan could always fall back on its substantial number of global exports and investment partners.
“I think it’s important for every country to maintain — and when it is possible, to increase — economic diversity and its diversity of business partners,” he said.
The ECFA “looks like a good thing,” Clinton said, adding: “If it turns bad, you can always do something else.”
Asked to comment on cross-strait developments, Clinton said he “feels good about it [because] this is not like the Middle East,” which is the kind of problem in that the longer it goes, the worse it becomes and the harder to settle.
Clinton said he supported Washington’s policy toward Taiwan “wholeheartedly,” but urged Taiwan to “keep the show [cross-strait policy] on the roll because to the rest of the world, this looks pretty amazing and we need models of success that work.”
Turning to other topics, Clinton said Taiwan should look into the energy issue and dedicate itself to research and development in the nanotechnology sector.
“I think in the next decade there will be an enormous sector growing out of nanotechnology and applications of nanotechnology,” he said.
The former US president also urged Taiwan and the rest of the world to think about how to reform the global economic system in a bid to help resolve global inequality.
CHANGE OF PLANS
Clinton was scheduled to visit the Taipei International Flora Expo yesterday morning, but the visit was canceled to avoid inconveniences to other visitors.
Though the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Clinton did not ask it to help rearrange his itinerary, it was not known if he met with other officials.
Clinton, who visited Taiwan for the sixth time, departed yesterday afternoon.
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