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TBT Newsletter June 2016 is available now
2016-07-01 00:00:00

Editor's Note

Taiwan Brain Trust is indebted to you for the steady stream of feedback received from readers in a variety of fields. It is your input that serves as our driving force, motivating us to continue on in our efforts. We are exceedingly grateful for each and every suggestion and encouragement we receive from you. This month, experts in a number of fields share their observations on current events, including the new administration’s New Southward Policy from the perspectives of economy, language and culture, and security as well as US-Taiwan relations, cross-Strait relations since the new administration took power on May 20, and the dispute between Taiwan and Japan over Okinotorishima.

In his piece entitled “Two Incorrect Criticisms of the ‘New Southward Policy’,” Taiwan Thinktank Vice President Lai I-chung points out that many Taiwan businesses did not benefit from Taiwan’s reliance on China’s economy and that Southeast Asia and India/South Asia comprise the region in the world with the most dynamic economies today, a region that boasts a combined population of over two billion. As such, Taiwan should focus on building its own strengths and taking advantage of opportunities offered by new geopolitical situations and actively develop relations with Southeast Asian nations.

In her story “A Few Suggestions for the Economic Side of the New Southward Policy,” Hsu Tsun-tzu, Program Director at the Taiwan ASEAN Studies Center, Chung-Hua Institution of Economic Research (CIER), discusses the ASEAN Community. Established in late 2015, the ASEAN Community’s economic hinterland is increasing in size as it continues to integrate and expand into Northeast and South Asia as well as into the South Pacific. The New Southbound Policy is in line with international trends and meets the needs of Taiwan’s economic development. If it is crafted well and can bring together the necessary resources, it should prove increasingly effective.

In her piece entitled “Learn Language and Culture before Going South,” National Sun Yat-sen University Assistant Professor Chao En-chieh recommends that the new administration study the histories and cultures of societies in Southeast Asia, as that is the only way to dispel the disdain that currently exists for Southeast Asian countries. This would result in a southward policy based more on equality and mutual benefit and a southward policy that would prove more sustainable.

In his paper titled “The New Southward Policy and Security Cooperation Issues,” Shen Ming-shih, Director of Graduate Institute of Strategic Studies, National Defense University, explains that by bolstering strategic and security cooperation with ASEAN nations, Taiwan would not only expand the content and extend the feelers of the New Southward Policy, it could rectify past policies errors focused too much on economic issues, enabling the military to broaden its international perspective as it follows security developments in the region.

In his piece “Outlook for Post-5/20 Cross-Strait Relations,” Tung Li-wen, Professor in the Central Police University’s Public Safety Department, predicts that cross-Strait relations will alternate between a cold peace and indifference. To resolve issues rationally and pragmatically, he suggests that future principles for developing crossStrait relations should focus on seeking common ground, building mutual trust, benefiting all the people, and maintaining peace.

In his story “US-Taiwan Relations Post-5/20: Sustained, Pragmatic, and Stable Development,” Lu Cheng-feng, assistant professor in the International and Mainland Affairs Department, National Quemoy University, shares his view that the new administration continue to deepen relations with the United States and promote comprehensive cooperation on the basis of common values. He points out that the US is no stranger to the members of the new administration. President Tsai has pledged to establish a consistent, predictable, and sustainable cross-Strait policy. In terms of personnel, President Tsai has sent a clear and reliable message to Washington. Taiwan-US relations are now at a good starting point.

In his piece “Okinotori: A New Beginning for Taiwan-Japan Maritime Dialogue,” Taiwan Brain Trust Vice President Lin Ting-hui states that although the Taiwan-Japan maritime affairs dialog mechanism will not be able to resolve such issues as overlapping territorial waters in the short term, it can help create a safe maritime operations environment for fishers and represents an opportunity for cooperation in which Taiwanese and Japanese maritime law enforcement agencies can work together to maintain maritime safety and protect the environment.

In this globalized 21st century, Taiwan, as an island- nation, needs to take a macro view of the world. The Taiwan Brain Trust hopes to offer analyses of major events, both in Taiwan and around the world, for local readers as well as provide a Taiwan perspective for readers around the world. If you have any suggestions or comments please drop us a line at info@braintrust.tw or follow us on Facebook.

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