Taiwan made progress in pushing trade goals at APEC summit: envoy

Da Nang, Vietnam, Nov. 12 (CNA) Taiwan's special envoy to the 2017 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting said Saturday that the country's participation in the leaders' summit had helped greatly to advance its regional trade policy goals.At an international press conference after the conclusion of the summit in Vietnam, Soong said his mission as Taiwan's envoy was not to seek any diplomatic breakthrough but rather to build trade and economic links.Soong said he also took part in an informal discussion among leaders of APEC and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which was held for the first time as part of the summit.At that informal meeting, Soong said, the discussions helped to significantly advance the goals of Taiwan's New Southbound Policy, which are to forge closer economic and trade ties with countries in Southeast Asia and South Asia, as well as with New Zealand and Australia.He said his discussions with the leaders of ASEAN member states on the sidelines of the summit also focused on economic and trade issues and that he told them there was no need to take sides between Taiwan and China.Soong said he also told the leaders that Taiwan was hoping to strengthen economic and trade exchanges with ASEAN countries and build cooperation in the areas of education, infrastructure construction and disaster prevention.The discussions also extended to the leaders of two ASEAN states that are not members of APEC, namely Laos and Myanmar, Soong said,In his talks with Laos President Bounnhang Vorachit, Soong said, he stressed that Taiwan was aiming to deepen bilateral cooperation in agriculture and infrastructure construction.In the discussions with Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi, Soong said, he told her Taiwan would like to boost bilateral economic and trade relations with her country.Soong said he also spoke with South Korea President Moon Jae-in and the U.S. representative to the APEC meeting and expressed Taiwan's support for the United Nations Security Council's resolutions to impose new sanctions on North Korea."I can say with all sincerity" that the Taiwan delegation made a great effort at the APEC summit, Soong said.He said that during the APEC leaders' summit, Mexico President Enrique Peña Nieto thanked Taiwan for its assistance in the wake of a powerful earthquake that devastated Mexico City and surrounding areas in September.Asked about a three-hour delay of the press conference, Soong said he was engaged in an important discussion, but he declined to disclose any details.He mentioned, however, that Taiwan's Foreign Minister David Lee had advised him to hold bilateral talks with the leaders of at least five countries."I did not disappoint him," Soong said.Due to China's objections, Taiwan's presidents are not able to attend the annual APEC summit, a high profile gathering of leaders from 21 economies, including the United States, Japan, Russia and China. Taiwan, therefore, has to appoint special envoys to represent its president at the summit.This year, Soong served as President Tsai Ing-wen's envoy to the APEC summit for the second consecutive time.