The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday elaborated on its “new southbound policy” at its Central Standing Committee meeting, with president-elect Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) underscoring it as “one of this nation’s crucial policies” for the near future.
Department of International Affairs Director James Huang (黃志芳) presented a report at the meeting, after which Tsai said it would be one of the nation’s important policies and asked party members in the central and local governments to put effort into the work, according to DPP spokesperson Yang Chia-liang (楊家俍).
Huang said that the policy has “gained traction” in various fields since it was announced last year.
“Industry, Taiwanese businesspeople in ASEAN, academia, various non-governmental groups and immigrant groups have been providing ideas and suggestions, which shows that people have fairly high expectations of the policy,” Huang said. “Many nations that might be affected by the policy are also interested in it and have engaged in constructive discussions with us.”
Huang said that Taiwan cannot lag behind as the world trends toward establishing holds in India and ASEAN.
“The new southbound policy is Taiwan’s new outward-oriented economic strategic plan that puts people at its core,” Huang said. “As a five-year plan, [the new government] would be pushing bilateral interaction and cooperation of human resources, industries, investments, education, culture, tourism and agriculture between Taiwan, ASEAN and South Asian nations to build a new partnership with these countries this century,” Huang said.
A “new southbound policy office” is to be set up to handle decisionmaking and integration, while a national-level think tank for the research of ASEAN and South Asian studies would also be built, he added.
A major project for ASEAN and South Asian studies-related scholarships would be integrated, through which communication among and cultivation of experts could be substantiated, Huang said, adding that they could constitute support for the development of the nation’s industries in the region.
“With Taiwan’s geographic position and economic conditions, it could be ASEAN and South Asian nations’ best economic and cultural partner,” Huang said. “In the face of a challenging economic situation, Taiwan has to look and walk straight ahead with the spirit of an oceanic nation and make economic breakthroughs via the policy.”