Taiwan ideal partner in Indo-Pacific strategy: foreign minister

Taipei, Taiwan is an ideal partner for countries in pursuing the U.S.-initiated Indo-Pacific strategy with its New Southbound Policy that renews the nation's attention to the region, Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (???) said Thursday.

Speaking at the opening of an Indo-Pacific region forum in Taipei, Wu said Taiwan has much to offer to the free and open Indo-Pacific Strategy proposed by U.S. President Donald Trump last year.

"We have much to offer in terms of trade, investment and expertise. We also have much to share. We are on the front line in defense of freedom, democracy and all the values that we so deeply cherish," he said.

Taiwan's view on the Indo-Pacific region is guided by the shared interests and principles of democracy by like-minded countries in the region, he said.

What gives Taiwan an edge among regional partners is the New Southbound Policy it launched two years ago when President Tsai Ing-wen (???) assumed office in May 2016, according to Wu.

The policy is aimed at forging closer economic ties with the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), countries in South Asia, as well as Australia and New Zealand.

"Our (New Southbound) policy has given us a two-year headstart in building a commercial and industrial presence in South and Southeast Asia. We are eager to work with all willing partners to form industrial partnerships and engage in experience-sharing," he said.

Taiwan also sees potential in infrastructure in the region.

The country is addressing the deficit in infrastructure spending across South and Southeast Asia by announcing that it will soon allocate US$3.5 billion to support infrastructure and development projects in countries covered by the New Southbound Policy, he said.

"This represents our belief that Taiwan -- with our expertise in transportation, logistics, and construction -- can play a bigger role in the development of the region."

Wu made the remarks during the one-day 2018 Indo-Pacific Security dialogue in Taipei. The event is co-organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), in cooperation with the Taipei-based Prospect Foundation, the U.S.-based Center for New American Security and the Japan-based Sasakawa Peace Foundation.

Former U.S. deputy national security adviser Nadia Schadlow and retired U.S. Navy Supreme Allied Commander of NATO James Stavridis were scheduled to speak at the seminar in Taipei to share their insights into Taiwan's possible role in the U.S.-initiated Indo-Pacific strategy, according to MOFA.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel