Thu, Aug 10, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Academics urge greater contribution in SE Asia

Staff writer, with CNA

Taiwan can make a greater contribution to Southeast and South Asian in areas such as agriculture and public health, while working with friendly nations to promote its New Southbound Policy, academics said at a forum in Taipei on Tuesday.

Chen Mu-min (陳牧民), a professor at the Graduate Institute of International Politics and dean of the Office of International Affairs at National Chung Hsing University in Taichung, said Taiwan should use its strength in agriculture and public health to advance the policy.

Taiwan should let more of its friends know that it is willing to work with them, Chen said during a roundtable discussion at the Asia-Pacific Security Dialogue, which was organized by the Prospect Foundation.

He urged the government to cooperate more closely with countries such as the US and Japan in its bid to expand relations with Southeast Asian nations.

He said the policy was not meant to compete with China, but rather to focus on Taiwan’s contribution to the region.

Alan Yang (楊昊), executive director of National Chengchi University’s Center for Southeast Asian Studies, said the policy is aimed at relocating Taiwan in the Southeast Asian community.

“Hopefully, we can contribute more to the region,” Yang said, adding that the policy is people-centered rather than profit-centered.

The administration of President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has been promoting the New Southbound Policy, which seeks to advance ties with Southeast and South Asian countries, as well as New Zealand and Australia.

Academics at the forum said that although there are potential opportunities for greater exchanges between Taiwan and Southeast Asia, there are also some challenges.

For example, the issue of cross-strait relations has had an effect on efforts to advance ties with Southeast Asian nations, said Brian Harding, director for East and Southeast Asia at the Center for American Progress in the US.

Stable cross-strait relations would make everything easier, Harding said, adding that all Southeast Asian nations want “good relations with China.”

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