Fri, Aug 31, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan is partner in Indo-Pacific: Wu

TRAILBLAZER:The New Southbound Policy includes US$3.5 billion in planned investment and preceded the US strategy, the foreign minister told an international forum

Staff writer, with CNA

Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu yesterday speaks at the opening of the 2018 Indo-Pacific Security Dialogue in Taipei.

Photo: Liao Chen-huei, Taipei Times

Taiwan is an ideal partner for countries pursuing the US’ Indo-Pacific Strategy, as the nation’s New Southbound Policy increases its attention on the region, Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) said yesterday.

Speaking at the opening of the Indo-Pacific Security Dialogue in Taipei, Wu said that Taiwan has much to contribute to the US’ strategic goal of maintaining a “free and open Indo-Pacific” presented by US President Donald Trump last year.

“We have much to offer in terms of trade, investment and expertise. We also have much to share. We are on the front line in defense of freedom, democracy and all the values that we so deeply cherish,” Wu said.

Taiwan’s view on the region is guided by the shared interests and principles of democracy by like-minded countries in the region, he said.

What gives Taiwan an edge among regional partners is the New Southbound Policy, whichwas launched after President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) assumed office in May 2016, Wu said.

The policy is aimed at forging closer economic ties with the 10 ASEAN members, South Asian countries, Australia and New Zealand.

“Our policy has given us a two-year head start in building a commercial and industrial presence in South and Southeast Asia,” Wu said. “

“We are eager to work with all willing partners to form industrial partnerships and engage in experience-sharing,” he said.

Taiwan also sees potential in infrastructure in the region, he said.

It is addressing the deficit in infrastructure spending across South and Southeast Asia and is to allocate US$3.5 billion to support infrastructure and development projects in countries covered by the New Southbound Policy, Wu said.

“This represents our belief that Taiwan — with our expertise in transportation, logistics and construction — can play a bigger role in the development of the region,” he said.

The event was organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Taipei-based Prospect Foundation, the US-based Center for New American Security and the Japanese Sasakawa Peace Foundation.

Former US deputy national security adviser Nadia Schadlow and retired US admiral James Stavridis also spoke at the seminar, sharing their insights on Taiwan’s potential role in the US’ strategy, the ministry said.

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