TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has drawn up a budget of NT$26.06 billion (US$839 million) for 2019, with the allocation of funds for affairs related to the United States and North America increased considerably compared to that of 2018, reports said.
The total budget for 2019 is said to be similar to 2018’s, but with the loss of two allies in Latin America earlier this year, namely the Dominican Republic and El Salvador, a proportion of the budget that would have been allocated to the Latin American region will instead be diverted to North America, making its budget approximately NT$125 million (US$4 million), reported the Liberty Times.
According to the foreign ministry’s budget plan for expenditures related to international conferences and exchanges, NT$420 million (US$13.5 million) is to be distributed to departments handling affairs across the Asia-Pacific, Africa, Europe, and North America, as well as to departments of international organizations, international information services, and non-profit organizations.
The Department of North American Affairs takes up a quarter of the entire budget meant for the departments mentioned above, increasing from NT$80 million (US$2.5 million) to NT$125 million (US$4 million) for the coming year, the report said.
The foreign ministry said the increased budget will be primarily utilized to expand the Global Cooperation and Training Framework (GCTF), a joint-project initiated by Taiwan and the United States in 2015. It will also be applied to a series of events dedicated to the 40th anniversary of the Taiwan Relations Act, which has formed the basis of U.S. policy towards Taiwan since it switched recognition to China in 1979.
The budget for promoting congressional exchanges between Taiwan and the United States will also increase, with the aim of gaining more support for the country in the U.S. Congress, reports said.