Forum on regional cooperation to be held next week

Staff writer, with CNA

Wed, Oct 04, 2017 - Page 4

Taiwan is preparing to host a forum that it hopes will enhance its regional status and support the government’s efforts to forge a broader relationship with countries covered under the New Southbound Policy.

The government-affiliated Prospect Foundation is to stage the first “Yushan Forum: Asian Dialogue for Innovation Progress” on Wednesday and Thursday next week, and the main theme of the conference will be “fostering economic and social connectivity with Southeast and South Asia.”

Presidential adviser Michael Hsiao (蕭新煌), a sociologist specializing in Asian studies and the forum spokesperson, said many countries have been positioning themselves as significant players in the region by holding major conferences.

Singapore has hosted the Shangri-La Dialogue since 2002, China launched the Boao Forum the same year, and India has held the Raisina Dialogue since last year, so “Taiwan should not be absent,” he said yesterday.

The Yushan Forum will focus on issues beyond geopolitics, Hsiao said, to extend the reach of the New Southbound Policy, crafted to advance ties between Taiwan and the 10 ASEAN member states, six South Asian countries, Australia and New Zealand.

The policy has a “people-centered” orientation, and that outlook is reflected in the issues the Yushan Forum will cover, Hsiao said.

According to the agenda, the forum is to feature six keynote addresses and six panel discussions on economic and trade issues, human resources, technological innovations, nongovernmental organization engagement, think tank cooperation and youth dialogue.

This reflects the holistic approach to regional engagement taken by President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) administration, Hsiao said, which differs from the “Go South” policy initiated by former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) and reintroduced by his successor Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁).