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New MOFA chief promises to utilize resources well

New MOFA chief promises to utilize resources well

Newly appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs James Huang (黃志芳) yesterday vowed to utilize the government's limited resources to formulate the country's foreign affairs strategies, which will include downsizing Taiwan's overseas embassies and representative offices.

Noting that Taiwan now has 122 overseas offices, more than countries such as Canada and Australia, Huang said that Taiwan should concentrate its resources on key regions. He added that he will call on the ministry's regional directors to decide how to trim down the country's foreign establishments.

The minister pointed out that if the world's superpower, the United States, needs to implement "transformational diplomacy," a country like Taiwan that continuously faces oppression in the international community should map out a set of comprehensive strategies to accommodate the current situation.

"Making the best use of manpower, contemplating a flexible strategy, and enhancing the ministry's efficiency" will be his three priorities in striving for greater international participation for Taiwan and in dealing with China's oppression of the island, Huang said.

Citing his past working relationship with the Presidential Office and the National Security Council (國家安全會議), Huang said that under his leadership, the ministry would play a more significant role in drawing up the country's overall strategies. He would also request all regional directors to draft regional-oriented diplomatic strategies and list their policies, he said.

When asked whether Taiwan would remain bound to the nebulous goal of seeking a greater number of diplomatic allies, the new minister said that the number of allies has a deeper significance in "maintaining the country's sovereignty and dignity." If Taiwan is only officially recognized by few countries, Huang added, it would provide China with legitimate grounds to claim that the island is part of the mainland.

"I want everyone working at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to feel that they are undertaking a sacred mission instead of just doing a job," said the 47-year-old Huang.

Huang also vowed to enhance bilateral ties with countries in strategic areas, such as the Middle East and North Africa. Strong relations with non-allied countries could also aid Taiwan's participation in the international community, he said.

In addition, Huang said that Taiwan would have more bargaining power in cross-strait negotiations if the country could maintain adequate self-defense capability, a strong economy, and good relations with the rest of the world.