Sun, Apr 14, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Canadian think tanks say their nation should establish closer ties with Taiwan

Staff writer, with CNA, Toronto

Taiwan is a natural choice in Canada’s bid to achieve closer ties with free and democratic societies in the Indo-Pacific region, Brett Byers, the communications manager of a Canadian think tank, said in an opinion piece earlier this month.

Taiwan is a source of stability and one of the largest economies in a region where some states, like others elsewhere, seem unwilling to operate by the rules and norms that contribute to global peace and stability, Byers wrote in the Hill Times.

“In a world of growing tensions, slower economies and political upheaval, countries like Canada need allies with shared values, particularly in the Indo-Pacific,” he said.

Democratic nations should work together to remain resilient in the face of these external forces and send the message that adherence to international norms is rewarded with partnership and cooperation, he said.

“If Canada is looking to align itself more closely with free and democratic societies, it need look no further than Japan, India, America, Australia and — of course — Taiwan,” said Byers, who works at the Macdonald-Laurier Institute.

“The government in Taipei is ready and willing to support a rules-based international order that will advance the objectives of like-minded democratic allies in the region,” he wrote.

Byers cited Taiwan’s New Southbound Policy as an example, saying that Taiwan is playing a leadership role in strengthening economic and social cooperation among the Pacific Island, South and Southeast Asian, and Oceanic states.

Launched by President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) administration in 2016, the policy aims to enhance cooperation and exchange between Taiwan and the 10 ASEAN members — Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam — Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, New Zealand and Australia.

Byers’ opinion piece followed similar comments from Brian Lee Crowley, managing director of an Ottawa-based think tank, who wrote in the Toronto Globe and Mail on Jan. 15 that Canada could respond to escalating tensions with China by building relations with Taiwan.

Canada should expel the Chinese ambassador, Crowley said, adding that tensions have been growing between the two nations over an extradition case involving Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou (孟晚舟).

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