TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) on Thursday unveiled the country’s vision of an Indo-Pacific region, which will be centered on economic, defensive, and democratic efforts.
The 2018 Indo-Pacific Security Dialogue opened on Thursday in Taipei, where lawmakers from Taiwan, the United States, and Japan, as well as scholars from across the Indo-Pacific region exchanged ideas about the security and economic challenges facing the region today, and how to preserve an open, free, and rule-based Indo-Pacific.
For the first time, the foreign minister discussed the country’s strategic perspective on the Indo-Pacific region, where China’s militarization in the South China Sea, North Korea’s nuclear program, and even cross-strait tensions continue to intensify.
▶︎ Foreign Minister Joseph Wu unveils the country’s vision of a Indo-Pacific strategy (Teng Pei-ju/Taiwan News)
Wu said with the implementation of the New Southbound Policy, Taiwan is building an economic and industrial presence in South and Southeast Asia, including the allocation of US$3.5 billion to support infrastructure and development projects in the Policy-target nations.
The country is following the steps of the United States, Japan, and other countries to increase public and private investment in the Indo-Pacific, said Wu. “With our expertise in transportation, logistics, and construction, [Taiwan] can play a bigger role in the future development of this region.”
In line with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文)’s call to like-minded countries to work together in defiance of coercion and intimidation facing the region, Wu emphasized that the security challenges Taiwan is faced with today are also threatening the freedom, openness, and prosperity of the region.
A free and open Indo-Pacific region is a collective effort, said Wu, calling for cooperation and dialogue among like-minded countries “to defend the right for countries to be treated with equality and respect.”
Apart from economic and defensive measures, the foreign minister said democracy is also key to a peaceful, stable, and prosperous Indo-Pacific region, and that there is a need to strengthen democratic institutions across the region.
As a vibrant democracy, Wu said Taiwan’s “experience in democratization and building a robust civil society can serve as a model” for other nations in the region.
The 2018 Indo-Pacific Security Dialogue, formerly known as the Taiwan-US-Japan Trilateral Security Dialogue, was initiated in 2011 by MOFA. The event this year was co-hosted by three think tanks based in Taiwan, the United States, and Japan, respectively the Prospect Foundation, the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), and the Sasakawa Peace Foundation.