Minister Deng addresses opening of 2023 Yushan Forum
Dr. Hsiao, Chairman of the Taiwan-Asia Exchange Foundation,
Distinguished panelists and moderators,
Distinguished guests from near and far,
Ladies and gentlemen,
I am very much honored to welcome you all and provide some thoughts before we start today’s sessions.
Right after President Tsai first launched the New Southbound Policy in 2016, all of the relevant government agencies very quickly engaged with business, academia, and civil society to formulate a plan of action. We then worked with our partner countries to develop the implementation program based on the need of local communities.
The past seven years have seen the accumulation of many tangible results. Today, we have invited several government leaders whose agencies have participated in those efforts as well as experts from abroad to examine the results of those programs and to have in depth discussion on ways forward.
Taiwan is a part of the Indo-Pacific region. We seek to forge a strong relationship with our partners aiming to share prosperity, benefits, resources, and vision. In essence, the New Southbound Policy has evolved to embrace not just investment and trade, but also the cultivation of holistic goodwill among the countries in the region.
Thanks to our concerted efforts, Taiwan and our partner countries have made significant strides in areas such as education, agriculture, health care, disaster prevention, investment, finance, and cultural exchanges. Through cooperation, we have embarked on a rewarding journey toward shared values and goals.
It gives me great pleasure to have taken part in this important policy which especially benefits young people, women, small and medium business. Those groups who generally have less resources and even underprivileged.
Because of the New Southbound Policy, Taiwan has formed a much resilient supply chain with countries in south east Asia and India as a result. According to our Ministry of Economic Affairs, accumulation of Taiwan’s outbound investment to these destinations increased from US$32.7 billion in 2016 to US$57.6 billion by June, 2023. An increase of 76.2% . Taiwan’s trade with New Southbound Policy partner countries also surged from US$95.8 billion in 2016 to US$180.3 billion in 2022, representing an increase of 88.8%, much bigger growth than that of trade with other part of world in the same period.
Taiwan places special emphasis on education. This approch fosters many educational collaborations that invite students from our neighboring countries to pursue higher education in Taiwan, and also provide them the opportunities of internship so that they can gain on hand experience in the factories. Seven years of cooperation has resulted in an increasing of this students body from 32,000 in 2016 to almost 70,000 in 2022. More than 10,000 of these graduates got jobs in Taiwan in 2022 alone.
Through mutual sharing and partnership, Taiwan conducts cooperation projects in areas of health care, agriculture, disaster prevention, environmental protection, waste disposal, tourism, the empowerment of women, as well as cultural exchanges. And they have all borne fruit. During the pandemic, Taiwan donated 4.5 million face masks and other protective equipments to our partner countries to help them control the spread of covid 19. To Taiwan, our neighbor countries are not just business partners, they are family.
Despite of those achievements I mentioned earlier, we shall continue our efforts. We must set higher goals and extend our reach. We aspire to collaborate with our partner countries hoping to contribute even more to the promotion of peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.
We are pleased to see that the Yushan Forum has become one of the most important platforms for discussing regional cooperation. This year’s forum is not only a milestone, but also a new beginning. We believe that after two days of discussions, new ideas will emerge so as to benefit not just Indo-Pacific region, but the whole world.