The US government fully supports the President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) administration’s New Southbound Policy, describing it as in line with the US’ own policy direction in the region, a US Department of State source said.
The source said that the US is happy to see Taiwan treating the policy as a long-term project, adding that it anticipates the two nations working together on such regional issues as the digital divide, medical training and fostering of a community mindset in the Asia-Pacific region.
The US is interested in learning more about Taiwan’s specific plans for the region, the source said, adding that it has so far been unable to obtain adequate information related to the policy.
The US has also been concerned that so many negative opinions and so much misunderstanding about the policy exist among Taiwanese, the source said.
Premier Lin Chuan (林全) has reviewed the policy’s key projects and the Executive Yuan has said it would produce a list of policy items later this month.
The source said the US expects the New Southbound Policy to complement the aims laid out in the Global Cooperation and Training Framework signed between the two nations in 2015.
The framework lays out plans for cooperation in such areas as international humanitarian assistance, public health, environmental protection, energy, technology, education and regional development.
The policy would allow Taiwan to improve its ties with Southeast Asian nations through its contributions to those nations, the source said, adding that the US acknowledges that the policy is not intended to engage China in competition.
“Taiwan should continue to promote positive cooperation. It must avoid drawing lines in the sand,” the source said.
“The policies are intended to further the aims of regional peace, stability and safe development in the Asia-Pacific region,” the source said.
The US-Taiwan Business Council has also expressed support for the New Southbound Policy.
The council said that it hoped for large-scale trade in the region that involves cooperation between the two nations and integrates the business interests of both.
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