Presidential adviser Michael Hsiao (蕭新煌) has emerged as a candidate to lead the new Taiwan-Asia Exchange Foundation think tank, which is to begin operations next month at the earliest.
The foundation is to help the government develop President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) New Southbound Policy aimed at boosting bilateral investment, technological and educational exchanges, and tourism with ASEAN members, South Asian nations, Australia and New Zealand.
At the closing ceremony for the Yushan Forum in October last year, Tsai announced that preparations were being made for the establishment of a think tank tasked with creating momentum for the policy by promoting partnerships and collaborations with other nations.
When reached for comment yesterday, Hsiao said that he has not been approached for the post and that it was premature to discuss the issue.
The foundation is to be funded out of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ budget and will be required to elect its president in a board meeting, Hsiao said, adding that his prospects would only become clear after the first meeting.
Hsiao, who served as a spokesman for the Yushan Forum, said the foundation should fill in the gaps left by the government as it carries out the policy.
The Cabinet has created a task force responsible for promoting regional agricultural exchanges and four other flagship projects, but the foundation could promote exchanges between think tanks, non-governmental organizations (NGO) and young people, he said.
The foundation could carry out youth exchanges in Southeast Asian nations like some universities have done, helping Taiwan forge partnerships with the countries, he said.
The government-backed, privately planned foundation is expected to open its doors next month or in April, foundation preparation office spokesman Yang Hao (楊昊) said.
It is to help the nation enter into new partnerships with Southeast Asian and South Asian countries, as well as New Zealand and Australia, by promoting exchanges between governments, the private sector, NGOs, young talent and think tanks, the office said.
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