Taiwan advised to leverage APEC to advance New Southbound Policy

TSMC founder Morris Chang (left) will represent Taiwan at the Leaders Meeting

TSMC founder Morris Chang (left) will represent Taiwan at the Leaders Meeting (CNA photo)

Taiwan is well-positioned to help regional countries to craft policy solutions to address health care challenges and can leverage the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) as a platform and model for advancing its goals under the New Southbound Policy (NSP), a member of an APEC forum said Thursday.

"Taiwan is a health innovation rising star," Michael Schmitz, advisor to APEC Life Science and Innovative Forum, said at a session of the Yushan Forum in Taipei, an annual regional dialogue inaugurated by Taiwan's government last October for regional stakeholders to formulate shared blueprints toward the Indo-Pacific region.

Schmitz suggested that Taiwan include four areas in its NSP goals in the field of health care-- regulatory convergence, health care services, health care financing, and digital health.

Taking regulatory convergence as an example, Schmitz said the Taiwan Food and Drug Administration can cooperate with NSP countries in ensuring the target country's alignment with international technical guidance, standards and principles and procedures.

Schmitz also suggested that the APEC could be useful for Taiwan to draw on to advance NSP, through, for example, private sector engagement, something unique to APEC that has kept it at the forefront of regional integration and discussions about the future of the region's economy.

The NSP aims to strengthen Taiwan's partnership with Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) members, countries in South Asia, Australia and New Zealand through various initiatives spanning the areas of innovative industries, medical technology, youth exchange, agriculture, and talent cultivation.

At the same session, Brian Lee Crowley, manager director of Macdonald-Laurier Institute, Canada, spoke about the topic in a larger context of global geopolitics, partly focusing on China's policy to isolate Taiwan and how the West should engage with the island.

Crowley said that China has affected every aspect of Taiwan's efforts to achieve international recognition and to make international contribution commensurate with its tremendous talent, energy and expertise, including in heath care.

"While the world needs more Taiwan, China is determined that the world shall have less (of) Taiwan," Crowley said.

"Not only it is unacceptably diminishing the wellbeing of those that Taiwan seeks to help and Taiwan's rights of self-determination, but it is also an egregious attack on the integrity of numerous international organizations," Crowley said.

Crowley added that Taiwan acts as the world's "canary in the mine," with respect to the dangers posed by China's behaviors, adding that the west is therefore increasingly looking at ways to come to the aid of Taiwan.

China's bad behavior will not change until it realizes that other countries will exact an unacceptable price and a resolution and determination to call Beijing to account, he said.