New think tank tasked with promoting New Southbound Policy: Tsai

Taipei, A newly launched think tank will be tasked with implementing the government's New Southbound Policy and strengthening the nation's engagement with Asian neighbors, President Tsai Ing-wen (???) said Wednesday.

Speaking during the inauguration ceremony for the Taiwan-Asia Exchange Foundation (TAEF), Tsai said the TAEF will be used to advance the government's New Southbound Policy and facilitate improved ties between Taiwan and the rest of Asia.

"The TAEF will work on the frontline implementing our New Southbound Policy, and strengthening Taiwan's overall engagement with Asian society. That engagement includes cultivating relationships with civil society, young people and think tanks in other countries," Tsai noted.

"The strategy has three main characteristics. It's people-centric, highlights regional inclusiveness and is devoted to deepening multilateral partnerships," she said.

The president also observed that since the launch of the policy which seeks to enhance exchanges with neighboring Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) members, India, Australia and New Zealand two years ago, the strategy is gradually reshaping Taiwan's Asia strategy.

Another major task for the government-funded think tank will be to organize the annual Yushan Forum, which was launched last October to promote Taiwan's regional status and support the government's efforts to forge a broader relationship with those countries targeted by the New Southbound Policy, Tsai said.

The president said the forum is a resource sharing program and platform that allows Taiwan and other countries to collaborate and embrace the future together.

More than 800 opinion leaders from home and abroad attended the debut forum last year, she said, adding that it is hoped more will be at this year's event, which is slated to be held Oct. 11-12.

The TAEF is chaired by Senior Advisor to the President Hsiao Hsin-huang (???) while its executive director is Yang Hao (??), who is also director of the Southeast Asian Studies Center at National Chengchi University.

The ceremony was attended by representatives from Singapore, Vietnam, U.S., Japan and Australia.

Meanwhile, the outgoing top Vietnamese representative to Taiwan Tran Duy Hai (???) told local media on the sideline of the ceremony that he will leave his post on Aug. 12.

Before his departure, Tran hopes to say goodbye to President Tsai and has a Vietnamese vase decorated with a lotus motif, he wants to present to the president as a parting gift.

The lotus is the national flower of Vietnam and symbolizes peace and stability, according to Tran.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel