New Southbound Policy to put Taiwan in 'advantageous position': Tsai

Taipei, Oct. 10 (CNA) President Tsai Ing-wen highlighted the New Southbound Policy during her National Day address on Tuesday, saying her government has adopted the policy to give Taiwan a more "advantageous position" in the international community.In her speech titled "Better Taiwan," the president said that to realize a better Taiwan, her government has actively sought a place for Taiwan in the new international order and has promoted the New Southbound Policy to forge closer relationships with neighboring countries."Compared to the last year, our trade with New Southbound countries has grown almost 20 percent. This is a result everyone can see," said Tsai, whose New Southbound Policy targets 18 countries, including those in Southeast Asia and South Asia, as well as New Zealand and Australia.Under the policy, Tsai said, her administration is working to encourage talent exchanges and greater industrial cooperation.The Ministry of Economic Affairs has established investment windows in Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia, Myanmar, Thailand, and India to support investment in both directions, she said.Taiwan is also providing overseas credit guarantees for small and medium-sized enterprises seeking to invest in Southeast Asia, she added."The purpose of the New Southbound Policy is for us to hold a more advantageous position in international society," the president said, adding that Taiwan is ready to play a more important role in shaping regional prosperity and stability.This year, Taiwan has created a new platform to jointly combat the dengue fever epidemic with Southeast Asian countries, she said.It is also establishing Taiping Island as a center for humanitarian assistance in the region, and is building a station to monitor greenhouse gas emissions on Dongsha (Pratas) Islands, Tsai said."This soft power is a source of pride for the Taiwanese people and a force for stability, peace, and prosperity in the region," she said.Tsai also noted during her National Day address that major democracies around the world are adjusting their foreign policies in response to growing threats from climate change, resource scarcity, communicable diseases, and terrorism.They are bringing forward ways to "merge traditional and non-traditional issues" and "consolidate government and civil society forces," she said, adding that Taiwan is responding to these international trends by placing humanitarianism at the center of its security perspective.