Taipei deputy mayor: Local gov’ts should push Southbound Policy

Taipei’s Deputy Mayor Charles Lin says local governments should do their part to promote Taiwan’s New Southbound Policy.

The New Southbound Policy aims to create closer ties with Australia, New Zealand, and the countries of South and Southeast Asia.

In a Chinese language interview with RTI on Wednesday, Lin said local governments should help promote the policy, given the diplomatic challenges Taiwan faces in the international community.

“Essentially, we think we should create a national team. We should use the concept of a national team, with the capital city and local governments at all levels splitting up the work and coordinating efforts,” Lin said. “We’ll not only be doing business with New Southbound Policy countries, we’ll also be forging long-term friendships, and conducting tourist, cultural, business and talent exchanges. Taipei should not pass off the responsibility to others, it should do all it can to help.”

Lin spoke about Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je’s visit in March to three of the New Southbound Policy countries — Malaysia, Thailand, and India. Lin said the results of the trip included memorandums of understanding with a Thai cultural foundation and the Malaysian state of Selangor. He said the trip also saw the creation of ten scholarships for students at the Indian Institutes of Technology.

The deputy mayor said the trip produced results in the areas of tourism, culture, business, and education. Lin said the mayor – who is a doctor by profession — also wants to see cooperation expanded to include medicine, given the strength of Taiwan’s medical system.

Another area of expertise that Taipei can export, Lin said, is the technology used to develop smart cities.