Premier approves formation of New Southbound Policy task force

Taipei-Premier Lai Ching-te (???) has approved the appointments of 10 officials to a task force aimed at promoting the government's New Southbound Policy, Minister without Portfolio John Deng (???), who heads the task force, said on Sunday.

President Tsai Ing-wen (???) instructed the National Security Council (NSC) in December last year to establish a New Southbound Policy special panel to coordinate policy across different government agencies.

Tsai also suggested that the Office of Trade Negotiations under the Executive Yuan create a task force to complement the special panel under the NSC to strengthen the execution of the policy.

The new task forces were seen as substitutes for the Tsai government's ill-fated New Southbound Policy Office that was set up soon after she took office in May 2016 but never got off the ground.

Deng, who also heads the Cabinet's trade negotiations office, said Lai has approved the personnel appointments to the New Southbound Policy task force, and its members are all deputy minister-level officials.

They are: Deputy Foreign Minister Wu Chih-chung (???), Deputy Minister of Economic Affairs Wang Mei-hua (???), Deputy Education Minister Yao Leeh-ter (???), Public Construction Commission deputy chief Yan Jeou-rong (???), Deputy Health and Welfare Minister Ho Chi-kung (???), Council of Agriculture deputy chief Chen Chi-chung (???), National Development Council deputy chief Chiou Jiunn-rong (???), Overseas Community Affairs Council Deputy Minister Leu Yuen-rong (???), and Deputy Minister of Transportation and Communications Chi Wen-jong (???).

Deng said the task force will meet once a month, with Bureau of Foreign Trade Director-General Yang Jen-ni (???) responsible for cross-ministry coordination.

The focus of the task force will be to forge trade relations mainly with countries near Taiwan, including the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia, as well as with India and Australia.

The New Southbound Policy is aimed at engaging more closely with countries in Southeast Asia and South Asia and Australia and New Zealand to broaden Taiwan's ties with the world and reduce its dependence on China.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel