Tsai Pivots Taiwan Southward

The government is seeking to strengthen trade, investment, tourism, education, and cultural relations with South and Southeast Asia.

The News Lens
Date: 2017/05/16
By: Jane Rickards

Southeast Asia may be close to Taiwan geographically, but Taiwanese traditionally

photo credit: Reuters/達志影像

tended to see its people as little more than a source of cheap labor. Even in academia, says Edwin Yang, an instructor in the College of International Studies at National Taiwan Normal University, Southeast Asia until recently was not considered a serious field of study. “The majority of scholars still have the mentality of the Middle Kingdom – that Southeast Asia is home to Nanyang, the southern barbarians.”

The New Southbound Policy(南向政策) developed by the government of President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) aims to radically change this mindset. With a motto of “yirenweiben” or “people orientation” and a 2017 budget of NT$4.1 billion (about US$134 million), the government is encouraging multiple social and business linkages with Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent that embody new principles of equality and reciprocity.    [FULL  STORY]

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