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Taiwan-US MOU will allow more direct contacts with Southeast Asia

Agreement will allow joint delegations to visit New Southbound Policy countries

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AIT Director Brent Christensen (second from right) and Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (first right) at the MOU news conference on Sept. 30 

AIT Director Brent Christensen (second from right) and Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (first right) at the MOU news conference on Sept. 30  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A recent memorandum of understanding (MOU) between Taiwan and the United States will allow Taiwan to overcome its problem of not having diplomatic allies in Southeast Asia, reports said Tuesday (Oct. 13).

The two countries reportedly signed the agreement on Sept. 17 to cooperate on developing infrastructure in Latin America and Southeast Asia. However, as Taiwan has no official diplomatic relations with any country in the latter region, it has been difficult to send senior government officials on visits to discuss concrete cooperation projects, the Liberty Times noted.

Cooperating with the U.S., the new agreement allows Taiwan to form joint delegations with American officials to travel to New Southbound Policy countries, according to an unnamed senior Cabinet official interviewed by the Liberty Times.

As Washington does not fear angering China, the delegations will form a conduit for negotiations between Taiwan and the 18 countries listed under its New Southbound Policy. Until now, those governments wanted to keep contacts with Taipei at a low profile to avoid attracting attention from Beijing.