Taiwan President calls for cooperation with Southeast Asia in face of global challenges

The 2018 Yushan Forum kicked off on Oct. 11 in Taipei, featuring dozens of significant figures in the region and the world, including two Nobel Peace Prize winners, to talk about their visions for regional prosperity

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President Tsai Ing-wen opens the 2018 Yushan Forum on Oct. 11 (Source: CNA)

President Tsai Ing-wen opens the 2018 Yushan Forum on Oct. 11 (Source: CNA)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) called for more cooperation in the region in the face of unprecedented global challenges and for collective actions to build a stable, prosperous and sustainable future.

The 2018 Yushan Forum kicked off on Thursday in Taipei. Initiated in 2017, the annual forum serves as a platform for regional dialogue and promotion of the New Southbound Policy initiated by the Tsai administration in 2016.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, President Tsai urged “more cooperation between Indo-Pacific societies to take collective actions” to achieve the goal for inclusive growth and sustainable development.

The president said the New Southbound Policy has not only driven collaboration between governments and private entities - 69 Memorandums of Understanding signed by the Taiwanese government and private companies based in New Southbound Policy-target countries, but it has also facilitated people-to-people ties, as exchanges of students and tourists between Taiwan and Southeast Asian nations boosted significantly in 2017 alone.

“The Yushan Forum is a testimony for our commitment to the New Southbound Policy and to this region,” said President Tsai, adding that the forum will present the continued efforts of the Taiwanese government and private sector in promoting the policy, as well as invite ideas and visions for a stable, prosperous and sustainable future.

Invited to open the forum, Frederik Willem de Klerk, former South African President and the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, urged attendees of the forum to come up with a clear vision of what leaders and organizations aim to achieve across the region before trying to convince people to share the vision that will benefit people of different generations.

► Former South African President and 1993 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Frederik W. de Klerk speaks at the Yushan Forum on Oct. 11 (Source: CNA)

“The real challenge for real leadership is to convince people what is best for them” especially when sacrifices are required, added de Klerk.

With the theme of “Working together for regional prosperity”, the Yushan Forum: Asian Dialogue for Innovation and Progress invited more than 50 people, including government officials, lawmakers, academic and think tank scholars, from 18 countries to discuss regional issues related to public health, agriculture, education, and industrial innovation, among others over two days.

“Taiwan is not a question, but an answer,” said Michale Hsiao (蕭新煌), chairman of the Taiwan-Asia Exchange Foundation, an organization inaugurated earlier this year to take up the responsibility of handling the forum, stressing that Taiwan is willing to share regional responsibility and is more than prepared.