Mon, Feb 25, 2019 - Page 3 News List

INTERVIEW: Taiwan, S Korea could join forces: envoy

Korean Mission in Taipei Representative Yang Chang-soo in an interview with ‘Taipei Times’ and ‘Liberty Times’ (sister newspaper of the ‘Taipei Times’) reporters Stacy Hsu and Lu Yi-hsuan spoke about his plans to boost tourism between Taiwan and South Korea, as well as Taiwan’s assets that could attract visitors

Q: In 2009, South Korea established the Korea Creative Content Agency to facilitate the development of its cultural industry. Taiwan is to set up a similar agency in the first half of this year. Could you share some of your experiences?

Yang: While support from the government is important, what matters more is for the private sector to take the initiative and be creative.

The “Korean wave” is not something that was started by the [South Korean] government, but rather by the private sector. To facilitate the development of the cultural industry, we need to stimulate creativity in the private sector and spur its motives.

Over the past two years, I have discovered many great assets in Taiwan.

The first is its people, whose warmth and kindness have touched the heart of many [South] Koreans and prompted them to keep returning to Taiwan.

As a diplomat, I have visited many countries, but Taiwanese are by far the kindest and warmest. This is an extremely valuable asset.

The second is Taiwan’s cultural assets. [South] Korean independence activist Kim Gu during the Japanese colonial era said that “if Korea could ever be independent, I also want it to become a cultural world power.”

However, compared with Korea, Taiwan has even greater cultural assets, such as its Chinese culture heritage and the treasures stored at the National Palace Museum. I believe there are immense potential and possibilities for Taiwan’s cultural industry.

The third is your natural assets. Taiwan is home to various landscapes, such as mountains, oceans, valleys and hot springs. Its national beauty does not pale in comparison to that of Switzerland.

Last is the food assets. I have told Korean tourists that Taiwan not only has the famous Din Tai Fung, but also Cantonese, Sichuan and Shanghai dishes that have been incorporated with local Taiwanese culinary elements.

I believe that with better efforts to explore other unique cultural elements here and a more effective promotion, Taiwan might catch up with South Korea in no time.

Q: South Korea’s New Southern Policy shares many similarities with Taiwan’s New Southbound Policy. Do you think the two could cooperate on this area?

Yang: The two policies indeed have many similarities in terms of target countries and goals.

However, the difference is their scope; Taiwan’s New Southbound Policy is not limited to Southeast Asia; it also includes Southwest Asia, Australia and New Zealand.

South Korea and Taiwan have experience in climbing out of poverty, and evolving from developing countries into what they are today. There is room for us to cooperate with emerging countries in targeted regions in the areas of education, medicine, agriculture, information technology and the management of small and medium-sized enterprises.

Taiwan enjoys a strong network of ethnic Chinese in Southeast Asia, while South Korea is able to maintain official ties with countries in the region. I think we can explore areas where we could cooperate and help each other.

Statistics show that the bilateral trade volume between Taiwan and South Korea reached more than US$35.5 billion last year, with Taiwan being [South] Korea’s six-largest trading partner and South Korea being Taiwan’s fifth-largest.

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