New Southbound Policy conducive to cross-strait stability: AIT head

The visiting chairman of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) expressed support Friday for President Tsai Ing-wen's (???)'s "New Southbound Policy," saying that building more links with other countries will help bring more stability to the Taiwan Strait.

James Moriarty, who took over as AIT chairman in early October, said that many people see Tsai's policy as "an attempt to weaken the cross-strait relationship."

"I don't see it that way at all," he told CNA in an interview, during his first visit to Taiwan since taking up his new post.

In response to questions about the government's policy, he expressed support for the strategy, adding that "any economy cannot become too dependent on any other external economy."

That would be very dangerous, because obviously the smaller economy has no way to control the policies or trends within the larger economy, he said.

Citing examples in the corporate world, he said that many multinational corporations may try to diversify and seek other markets or other bases of operation, when they begin to fear they are becoming too dependent on one market.

Meanwhile, with respect to the non-trade aspects of the southbound policy, he said it is very important for Taiwan to build as many links as possible to the outside world.

"That adds to stability. It adds to a recognition that Taiwan does have broader support, that the values that it represents are shared by many in the region," he said. "And that, I think, brings more, not less, stability to the Taiwan Strait."

Unlike Taiwan's previous "Go South" policy of the 1990s that focused on the idea of "cost down," the new southbound policy under the Tsai administration aims to strengthen trade relations and talent exchanges with countries in Southeast Asia and South Asia, as well as Australia and New Zealand.

The Taiwan government has said that the policy does not run counter to improving trade relations with China.

Moriarty, who is on a week-long visit that will last until Saturday, has decades of experience in Asia, including Taiwan, at senior leadership levels in the U.S. government and the private sector, according to the AIT, which represents U.S. interests in Taiwan in the absence of bilateral diplomatic ties.

He has served as U.S. ambassador to Bangladesh and Nepal, special assistant to the president of the United States, senior director for Asia at the National Security Council (NSC) and director for China affairs at the NSC, the AIT said.

Moriarty headed the political section at AIT from 1995 to 1998 and since retiring from the U.S. foreign service in 2011, has worked in the private sector and as an independent consultant, it said.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel