Former minister of transportation and communications Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) has reportedly been selected for the new position of ambassador-at-large for digital New Southbound Policy initiatives.
President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) favors Lin for the role, which is to serve as a liaison between the government and private sector, a source said.
Administrative affairs would be handled by National Security Council advisory member Fu Don-cheng (傅棟成).
Photo: Peter Lo, Taipei Times
Lin’s office said that the former minister closely monistors the nation’s industrial development, although he at the moment is focusing on the Jan. 9 Taichung legislative by-election and did not comment further on the position.
Lin, who served as Taichung mayor from 2014 to 2018, stepped down as transportation minister in April following a deadly Taroko Express train crash earlier that month.
The government is looking to take advantage of Taiwan’s digital strengths to add momentum to its New Southbound Policy and open avenues for development, a source said.
Established shortly after Tsai took office in 2016, the policy aims to enhance ties with 18 countries in the Indo-Pacific region: Australia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam.
At an industrial innovation summit last month in Taichung, Tsai held talks with academic and industrial partners.
She also reportedly spoke with Lin, who was attending in his capacity as honorary chairman of the hosting foundation.
Afterward, at an anniversary event for the Taiwan Thinktank, Lin reportedly advised Tsai on the development potential of integrating digital initiatives in the New Southbound Policy.
Centering Taiwan’s Indo-Pacific strategy around its digital strengths would not only expand the nation’s influence from the first island chain into the wider region, but also serve its larger growth and security interests, people familiar with the decision said.
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