OCAC head reserved about combining agency with foreign ministry

Overseas Compatriot Affairs Commission (OCAC) Minister Wu Ying-yih urged Wednesday that a proposal to combine his commission with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) be reconsidered.
Answering a question on the issue from Kuomintang (KMT) lawmaker Liao Wan-ju during a legislative committee hearing, Wu said the issue needed to be rethought because overseas nationals are valuable assets to Taiwan's diplomacy.
Wu argued that with President Ma Ying-jeou calling for a diplomatic truce between Taiwan and China, affairs related to overseas compatriots and the unofficial channels they provide have become even more important.
Taiwan's overseas citizens, particularly those in nations which maintain no diplomatic relations with Taiwan, provide valuable shortcuts for the government to connect to the rest of the world, Wu said.
He asserted that if the commission were merged with the foreign ministry, MOFA officials would no longer be able to take part in overseas compatriot meetings in non-allied countries, leaving the field open to China and making it difficult to manage this valuable resource in the future.
Wu also encouraged Taiwan's nationals living abroad to assist the government in working toward harmony and prosperity across the Taiwan Strait by helping dissolve confrontation between the two sides.
According to the OCAC chief, overseas Chinese are longing for lasting prosperity for all ethnic Chinese around the world and the perpetuation of Chinese culture.
But the ideological divide over Taiwan's future in recent years has led to a split among overseas Chinese and pushed many "old friends of the Republic of China" away from Taiwan, he said.
Many overseas expatriates from Taiwan still harbor a strong affection for the ROC and the OCAC will draft measures to help people living abroad return to Taiwan and settle at home, Wu said.
In addition to the OCAC's traditional responsibility of promoting Taiwanese culture overseas and sponsoring training programs for ethnic Chinese youth, the OCAC chief said he will also encourage overseas Chinese to invest in the 12 major infrastructure development projects outlined by the government.

Updated : 2021-04-15 05:19 GMT+08:00