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Education conference bolsters enduring ties with New Southbound nations

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Addressing a conference of principals from Chinese-speaking schools in countries targeted by Taiwan's New Southbound Policy, Premier Lai Ching-te said Monday that Taiwan greatly values exchanges with these nations, and looks forward to future cooperation engendering enduring, mutually beneficial relationships to the advantage of all.

In comparison to 2016 and 2017, this year has so far seen growth in a range of interactions between Taiwan and New Southbound countries. The number of students coming from targeted nations grew by over 10 percent, while tourist visits from these countries are up by about 27 percent. Investment has risen, as well, with Taiwan placing 54.5 percent more capital in New Southbound nations, and reciprocal incoming investment up 15 percent.

The government hopes to encourage continuing advances by taking an active and pragmatic approach in promoting all manner of endeavors, said the premier. Aggressive efforts by officials aimed at fostering talent for industry help schools and businesses in Taiwan provide training while at the same time creating opportunities for pupils from New Southbound countries to learn new skills. Additionally, a new economic immigration bill is being drafted that will allow qualified international students to seek employment in Taiwan following graduation, where they can expand their options and pave the way toward brighter futures by focusing on specialties or picking up operations expertise.

The Overseas Community Affairs Council indicated that this year's conference is the first such event that the council has hosted. A total of 108 school principals and managers from the Southeast Asian nations of Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Thailand, Myanmar and Cambodia—as well as South Korea by special invitation—are attending. It is hoped that the exchange will enable the visiting school officials to better appreciate Taiwan's efforts in the areas of Chinese-language education and student recruitment from overseas compatriot communities.

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