The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has promoted a “go south” policy in a pragmatic manner and has always wanted to set up representative offices in Southeast Asia, the ministry said amid reports that it could set up an office in Myanmar soon.
The ministry has made efforts to improve substantive relations in Southeast Asia and India over the years and is pushing to set up offices to discuss bilateral trade and agricultural and fishery cooperation, ministry spokeswoman Eleanor Wang (王珮玲) said.
“The ministry will report to the public if substantive results are achieved,” Wang said.
Wang was responding to local media reports that the government could set up an office in Myanmar soon, following the latter’s establishment of a trade office in Taipei in June to promote bilateral relations.
A ministry official said that as Myanmar is to scheduled hold a general election on Nov. 8, major decisions will depend on the results of the election.
“The ministry is keeping close tabs on the development of the situation,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Taiwan has actually made trade inroads in Myanmar in recent years.
The Taiwan External Trade Development Council in 2013 set up a trade center in Yangon, and the Taipei-based International Cooperation and Development Fund also opened an office there in April last year.
The ministry’s statement came after Democratic Progressive Party presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) last week said her party would promote a “new southward policy.”
Under the policy, Tsai said she would improve relations with Southeast Asian countries and India.
Tsai said ASEAN and India are soon to become major economies, and that “it is a natural choice for us to step up overall relations with ASEAN and India” as Taiwan seeks to diversify its global trade.
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