Thu, Aug 09, 2018 - Page 3 News List

New think tank to oversee New Southbound Policy

Staff writer, with CNA

A newly launched think tank is to be tasked with implementing the government’s New Southbound Policy and strengthening engagement with the nation’s Asian neighbors, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said yesterday.

The Taiwan-Asia Exchange Foundation (TAEF) is to be used to advance the New Southbound Policy ties as well as with the rest of Asia, said Tsai, speaking at the launch ceremony.

“TAEF will work on the frontline, implementing our New Southbound Policy and strengthening Taiwan’s overall engagement with Asian society,” Tsai said. “That engagement includes cultivating relationships with civil society, young people and think tanks in other countries.”

“The strategy aims to be people-centric, highlight regional inclusiveness and devote itself to deepening multilateral partnerships,” she added.

Since Taiwan launched the policy to enhance exchanges with ASEAN members as well as India, Australia and New Zealand two years ago, the nation has witnessed a gradual reshaping of its Asia strategy, Tsai said.

Another major task for the government-funded think tank would be to organize the annual Yushan Forum, which was launched in October last year to promote Taiwan’s regional status and to support the government’s efforts to forge a broader relationship with countries targeted by the New Southbound Policy, Tsai said, adding that the forum is a resource-sharing program and platform that allows Taiwan and other countries to collaborate and embrace the future together.

More than 800 leading thinkers from home and abroad attended last year’s forum, with more expected to attend this year’s event on Oct. 11 to 12, she said.

TAEF is chaired by Senior Advisor Presidential Hsiao Hsin-huang (蕭新煌), while its executive director is Yang Hao (楊昊), who is also director of the Southeast Asian Studies Center at National Chengchi University.

The ceremony was attended by representatives from Singapore, Vietnam, Australia, Japan and the US.

Meanwhile, the top Vietnamese representative to Taiwan, Tran Duy Hai, told local media on the sideline of the ceremony that he would be leaving his post on Thursday next week.

Before his departure, Tran said he hopes to say goodbye to Tsai and present the president with a Vietnamese vase decorated with a lotus motif as a parting gift.

The lotus is the national flower of Vietnam and symbolizes peace and stability, Tran added.

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