Japanese, Thai ex-officials call for more cooperation

Staff writer, with CNA

Sat, Oct 14, 2017 - Page 4

Two former government ministers from Japan and Thailand on Thursday called on their respective countries to further cooperate with Taiwan, saying such links would help preserve peace and stability in the region.

On the second day of the Yushan Forum in Taipei, former Japanese minister of agriculture, forestry and fisheries Tokuichiro Tamazawa said his country should start negotiations with Taiwan on an economic partnership agreement.

Food trade is an important part of Taiwan’s New Southbound Policy, Tamazawa said, adding that trade between Taiwan and Japan, as well as with ASEAN countries and Taiwan, would help shift the nation’s economic dependence on China to ASEAN countries.

“I sincerely hope Japan can start economic partnership agreement negotiations with Taiwan,” he said.

Political cooperation is also important and Taiwan, Japan, the US and other like-minded democracies should work together to ensure continued peace and stability in the Asia region, Tamazawa said.

He also called on President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) administration to grant visa-free entry to as many countries that fit the security criteria as possible, which he said would be greatly conducive to the success of the administration’s New Southbound Policy.

Former Thai minister of foreign affairs Kasit Piromya expressed similar views in a speech, lauding Taiwan’s economic competitiveness and its successful political transformation over the past few decades.

“Taiwan can share its experience and know-how so that we can all enjoy economic and political freedoms,” he said.

Political exchanges should be a component of the New Southbound Policy, alongside its cultural and economic initiatives, he said.

The valuable lessons from Taiwan can help bring about change in South and Southeast Asian societies, Piromya said.