Taiwan to hold conference on Asia-Pacific digital divide in Manila

Taipei, Aug. 19 (CNA) Taiwan is planning to organize a conference next month in the Philippines to explain the results of a decade of a Taiwan-initiated project aimed at bridging the digital divide in the Asia-Pacific region, a Taiwanese official said Tuesday. Taiwan first proposed the idea of the project at the 2003 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting in Bangkok. Since then, it has helped set up APEC Digital Opportunity Centers (ADOCs) in 10 APEC countries -- Peru, Chile, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Mexico, Malaysia, Russia, Papua New Guinea and the Philippines. So far, about 600,000 people in those countries have benefited from the digital project, said Catherine Hsu, deputy director-general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' Department of International Organizations, at a regular news conference. To continue to help bridge the digital divide in the region and also promote exchanges with the Philippines, which will host the APEC summit in 2015, Taiwan is planning to organize an ADOC conference there to review the results of the project, Hsu said. The ministries of foreign affairs and economic affairs are working together on the event, which is set to kick off Sept. 10 in Manila, she added. The conference is expected to be attended by various senior APEC officials. The ADOC initiative was submitted to APEC by Nobel laureate and former Academia Sinica President Lee Yuan-tseh, Taiwan's representative to the 2003 APEC meeting, in a bid to turn the digital divide into digital opportunities. Taiwan's commitment to the project has also helped local businesses, as it offers Taiwanese IT companies opportunities to work with ADOC members, according to the Foreign Ministry. (By Tang Pei-chun and Elaine Hou)