Minister says Taiwan seeks US cooperation

Staff writer, with CNA

Sun, Jan 21, 2018 - Page 3

Taiwan is looking to strengthen its cooperation with the US in the region covered by the New Southbound Policy as US President Donald Trump’s administration also makes the Indo-Pacific region a priority, Minister Without Portfolio John Deng (鄧振中) said.

Deng, who oversees the New Southbound Policy, made the remarks during a video conference presentation on Friday evening to the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington-based think tank, according to a statement by the Office of Trade Negotiations released yesterday.

Deng said that the New Southbound Policy uses Taiwan’s soft power as a foundation to develop an increasing number of mutually beneficial exchanges with ASEAN and South Asian nations, as well as Australia and New Zealand, the statement said.

Deng elaborated on the preliminary results that the policy has yielded in the areas of trade, investment, tourism and university-exchange programs since Taiwan implemented it more than a year ago.

Discussing regional partnerships, the minister drew parallels between Taiwan’s policy and the US’ Free and Open Indo-Pacific strategy.

Deng underscored Taiwan’s desire to work with Washington as it unfolds the US’ policy, which aims to make trade more free and open in the region and to safeguard peace.

He called on the US to strengthen its collaboration with Taiwan, saying that certain areas covered by both policies — namely those in the Eastern Hemisphere — overlapped.

Taiwan hopes to increase exchanges between government officials, businesses and think tanks from the two sides, especially on regional issues, he said.

Taiwan wants to ink a free-trade agreement with the US, although there is no time line for lifting bans on certain US beef and pork imports, which have been an obstacle to any agreement between the two, the minister said.

However, Taiwan would continue to open up its trade and markets, while safeguarding the health of its people, Deng said.