Skip to main content

Foreign Policy Report, 8th Congress of the Legislative Yuan, 3rd Session (March 18, 2013)

  • Date:2013-05-15
  • Data Source:Department of Policy Planning

I. Foreword

It is an honor for me to present a briefing on the most recent activities of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) to the Foreign and National Defense Committee. On behalf of MOFA and all my colleagues, I would like to take this opportunity to extend my appreciation to President Wang Jin-pyng and all other members of the Legislative Yuan for their staunch support of our work, and to congratulate President Wang on his successful trips to the United States in January and the Republic of Korea (ROK) in February of this year.

The aim of the foreign policy of the Republic of China (Taiwan) is to safeguard national sovereignty and security and create an international environment that is conducive to national development. Since 2008, the government has promoted the “viable diplomacy” policy in an effort to consolidate the foundation for protecting sovereignty, expanding international space, and sustaining national development. Today, the ROC enjoys solid relations with 23 diplomatic allies, with which we share frequent high-level interactions. With the United States, Japan, members of the European Union, Southeast Asian nations, Australia, New Zealand, and other non-diplomatic partnerscountries, we have forged cooperative relations in the areas of security, economy, trade, tourism, technology, culture, aviation, agriculture, and fishery.

In order to maintain the momentum of viable diplomacy and build public trust, MOFA will continue to monitor international developments, formulate counterstrategies, allocate resources, clarify our policies, and thereby create a friendly, convenient, and beneficial global environment.

Today, I will discuss the opportunities and challenges in the current international political and economic climate, the progress and concrete successes we have achieved with viable diplomacy, as well as our priorities and future prospects. Your comments and suggestions are very much appreciated.

II. Opportunities and challenges in the current international climate

1. The international political and economic landscape, and strategic and security developments in East Asia

(1) Maintaining dynamic and stable systems in East Asia
The bilateral and multilateral free trade systems established by East Asian countries over the past two decades have evolved into mechanisms for cooperation and reciprocity. Traditional competition for power has given way to a pursuit of economic strength, as most parties refuse to allow disputes to undermine these systems or affect the economic scale and international division of labor that have resulted from their institution.

Peace in East Asia lies in the dynamic equilibrium between power, nationalism, and economic interests. Beginning in 2012, a series of sovereignty disputes over the East China Sea and the South China Sea have arisen. Leadership transitions have taken place in mainland China, Japan, as well as the Koreas. Each of these countries has striven to maintain domestic stability by taking a hard-line approach externally. Conflict has flared between mainland China and Japan around the Diaoyutai Islands. North Korea has launched the Unha-3 satellite and conducted nuclear tests. Although nationalist sentiment has risen, fortunately, all parties have exercised restraint out of concern for their economic interests. Free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations between many countries (with the exception of North Korea) are proceeding apace. Regional economic and trade integration has continued to develop and there is little chance of disputes spinning out of control. However, North Korea, which shuns the outside world, is the greatest uncertainty.

(2) The US “rebalancing” to Asia
Faced with mainland China’s growing military and economic power, regional integration in the form of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) plus 1 (mainland China) and ASEAN plus 3 (mainland China, Japan, and the ROK), and the gradual withdrawal of US troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States has adopted a “rebalancing” policy with regard to its military strategy and economic deployment. While strengthening its ties with military allies, the US is also pushing for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in an effort to maintain a balance.

Following his November 6, 2012 reelection, US President Barack Obama dispatched Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on trips to Asia, while he himself visited Thailand, Burma, and Cambodia, and attended the East Asia Summit (EAS). These moves have been interpreted as a reflection of President Obama’s determination to underscore the US strategic pivot to the Asia-Pacific region, to which he attaches great importance.

(3) Impact of a US-EU free trade zone on the global economy
In his 2013 State of the Union Address on Capitol Hill, President Obama announced that the US and the EU were planning to establish the world’s largest free trade zone within the next two years. Negotiations will begin in June of this year with hopes of reinvigorating the long-sluggish economy. This will have a far-reaching impact on the whole world economy, especially mainland China, India, Brazil, and other emerging markets.

(4) Upturn in global economy beneficial to the ROC’s economic and trade diplomacy
A preliminary solution has been found to the US fiscal cliff but the EU is still dealing with its debt issue. Financial markets’ confidence is gradually being restored in affected countries. The Japanese Cabinet led by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has announced a 20 trillion yen economic stimulus package and further relaxed Japan’s currency policy—moves that are expected to benefit its domestic economy. Mainland China saw an upturn in its GDP in the fourth quarter of last year. These developments indicate that uncertainty in the global economy is gradually being removed and our businesses are now more optimistic about the future. According to the latest survey by the Taiwan Institute of Economic Research, the business climate in the manufacturing and service sectors improved in November and December 2012, a fact benefitingcial to our continued efforts at liberalization.

(5) The Internet as a new political and economic arena
The Internet has many attributes—speed, volume, universal access, anonymity, equality, non-discrimination, low cost, and lack of effective controls. As in the initial stage of development of international relations, the Internet shows infinite growth potential and its penetration beyond boundaries especially favors the transmission of political messages and the conduct of commercial activities. It has brought fundamental change to government administration, entrepreneurial management, and political and diplomatic operations. MOFA is will closely monitoring its future developments in preparation for making an appropriate response.

2.Administrative measures being taken in response to the latest international developments

(1) An “iron triangle” strategy for national security strengthens viable diplomacy and expands international space
Under the principle of “putting Taiwan first for the benefit of the people,” continued efforts will be made to promote viable diplomacy, safeguard sovereignty, elevate our international status and dignity, gain global support, and expand our international room for survival and development.

(2) Strengthening economic and trade diplomacy to liberalize economy and trade

We have adopted the macroscopic strategy of “building up Taiwan while linking with the Asia-Pacific region and creating a global presence” in FTA negotiations with our major trading partners. We are promoting accession to the TPP and ASEAN plus 6 (i.e., the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership). , for which began nNegotiations for the latter began in January of this year. and which is eExpected to start operations in 2015, the organization will encompass a population of three billion, to be established in 2015. We have also taken a building block approach in seeking to sign bilateral investment agreements (BIA) and technical barriers to trade (TBT) agreements with other countries.

(3) Use of mutual reliance and reciprocity in the global economy to maintain balanced relations among East Asian powers and create a global environment conducive to peace and prosperity
In an effort to establish a model for resolving regional disputes, we are committed to promoting the East China Sea Peace Initiative. This will safeguard sovereignty and protect regional peace, while reinforcing the stance via international platforms and the media that, whether from the perspectives of history, geography, practical use, or international law, the islands of Diaoyutai, Nansha (Spratly), Xisha (Paracel), Zhongsha (Macclesfield Bank), and Dongsha (Pratas) and their surrounding waters are an inherent part of the Republic of China. All parties should seek to resolve disputes through dialogue, negotiation, and joint development of resources for the advancement of regional peace, stability, and development.

(4) Employing democracy and culture as “soft power” to raise our profile in keeping with our diplomatic objectives
We will introduce to the global community the ROC’s achievements in democracy, freedom, and equitable prosperity to enhance our national image. We will also enrich the content of “viable diplomacy” through soft power and cultural diplomacy as we seek international recognition and support.

(5) Vitalization of public diplomacy to complement traditional diplomacy and increase of policy briefings
In addition to expanding international information services to help the global community better understand President Ma’s efforts to achieve reconciliation across the Taiwan Strait and with other parts of the world as well as to advance regional peace and collective prosperity, the government has publicized our accomplishments as a peacemaker, a provider of humanitarian aid, a promoter of cultural exchange, a creator of new technologies and business opportunities, and a standard-bearer of Chinese culture. We have also formulated an “e-diplomacy policy” and are monitoring e-diplomacy developments in other countries vis-à-vis their successes, challenges they face, how they growfuture prospects, and their impact on global governance—in order to harness opportunities for expanding our international space.

III. Current status and substantive achievements of the viable diplomacy policy

1.Consolidating relations and cooperation with diplomatic allies
(1)Strengthening mutual visits by high-ranking officials and deepening friendships
Last December, I led a delegation to Guatemala and the Dominican Republic, where I met with President Otto Pérez Molina and President Danilo Medina, respectively. In addition, I led a delegation to Palau, Haiti, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Saint Christopher and Nevis in January and February this year. During these visits, I subsequently met with (the incumbent yet outgoing) President Johnson Toribiong and President-elect Tommy E. Remengesau Jr. of Palau; President Michel Joseph Martelly of Haiti; Governor General Dame Pearlette Louisy and Prime Minister Kenny Anthony of Saint Lucia; Governor General Sir Frederick Ballantyne and Prime Minister Dr. Ralph E. Gonsalves of St. Vincent and the Grenadines; and Governor General Sir Edmund Lawrence and Prime Minister Denzil L. Douglas of St. Christopher and Nevis. These visits were a resounding success.

Moreover, since last September, a number of heads of state and other high-level officials of our diplomatic allies have led delegations to Taiwan, including President Christopher J. Loeak and Mrs. Loeak of the Marshall Islands; King Mswati III and Queen Inkhosikati La Ngangaza of the Kingdom of Swaziland; Vice President Roxana Baldetti of Guatemala; First Lady Cándida Montilla de Medina of the Dominican Republic; First Lady and Secretary of Social Inclusion Vanda Pignato of El Salvador; Minister of Foreign Affairs and Attorney General Wilfred Peter Elrington and Mrs. Elrington of Belize; Minister of Foreign Affairs Samuel Santos López and Mrs. Santos of Nicaragua; Nitijela (lower house of parliament) Speaker Donald F. Capelle and Mrs. Capelle of Marshall Islands; Speaker of the Parliament Ludwig Scotty of Nauru; Senate President Claudius James Francis and House of Assembly Speaker Peter I. Foster of St. Lucia; Senate President Simon Dieuseul Desras of Haiti; National Assembly Speaker Evaristo do Espírito Santo Carvalho of Sao Tome and Principe; and Chamber of Duties President Victor Alcides Bogado González of Paraguay. These visits have helped further deepen mutual understanding and boost bilateral relations.

(2)Institutionalizing foreign aid to improve the well-being of the people of diplomatic allies
a.Carrying out our foreign aid policy in accordance with three principles of seeking proper goals, acting lawfully, exercising effective administration: MOFA adheres to these three principles when helping our diplomatic allies improve their infrastructure, healthcare, and people’s quality of life. As of this January, Taiwan had dispatched 30 aid and service missions of all sorts, comprising in total 175 experts, technicians, and projects managers, to 29 countries for 84 joint projects. These have benefited the peoples of our partner countriesallies and have further strengthened our bilateral relations with them.
b.Establishing a professional, legal, and transparent mechanism for foreign aid: To this aim, six relevant regulations, including the Regulations Governing the Planning, Appraisal, Implementation, Supervision and Performance Evaluation of International Cooperation and Development Affairs, were promulgated and enforced, thereby strengthening the legal framework for our foreign aid. In addition, MOFA has created an Official Development Assistance database to collect statistics on foreign aid provided by the whole country. The information gathered is included in the Taiwan Statistical Data Book published by the Council for Economic Planning and Development, and then a notification thereof is submitted to the OECD. In addition, MOFA drafts an annual report on international cooperation and development for review by the Legislative Yuan.
c.Transforming areas of foreign aid based on Taiwan’s industrial advantages: In addition to providing diplomatic allies aid in traditional foreign aid areas, such as agriculture, husbandry, horticulture, and vocational training, Taiwan provides aid in fields where our industries have demonstrated great strengths, including information and communication technology (ICT), health and medical care, and technology. For example, we launched joint projects using geographic information systems in Central America for such countries as Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. By using satellite and remote sensing technology, we help our diplomatic allies in a variety of areas, including land monitoring and natural disaster preparedness.

2.Deepening substantive relations with non-diplomatic allies
(1)Relations with the United States: comprehensive development
Taiwan-US relations have been moving forward based on the “low key, surprise free” principle proposed by President Ma Ying-jeou more than four years ago. The two sides rebuilt mutual trust and engaged in frequent interaction, paving the way for substantive progress on important issues, including arms sales, Taiwan’s inclusion in the US Visa Waiver Program (VWP), and US beef imports. In the last 30 years, Taiwan-US relations have never been better.

a. Visa Waiver Program
Taiwan has been included in the US VWP since November 1, 2012.

b. Pacific Islands Leadership Program (PILP)
Taiwan and the US agreed to co-organize the PILP through the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on December 13, 2012. The program will provide intensive leadership courses to 125 mid- or high-level officials with potential and youth leaders who are senior staff of NGOs from Pacific island countries over the next five years.

c. New Agreement on Privileges, Exemptions and Immunities
The Agreement on Privileges, Exemptions and Immunities between Taiwan and the US was signed on February 4, 2013, in Washington, DC.

d. Official high-level interaction
Former Vice President Lien Chan, the representative for Taiwan’s the ROC leader, conducted bilateral meetings with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the US President’s representative, at the 20th APEC Economic Leaders Meeting (AELM) on September 9, 2012 in Vladivostok, Russia.

e. Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA)
Our two countries publicly announced the resumption of consultations on the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) on February 1, 2013. Our Ministry of Economic Affairs initiated the talks with its US counterpart, which were led by Demetrios Marantis, the US Deputy Trade Representative, in Taipei on March 10, 2013.

f. Support of Taiwan by US Secretary of State
At his confirmation hearing, John Kerry, the newly appointed Secretary of State, indicated that he would continue to support US policy toward Taiwan and assist Taiwan in maintaining sufficient self-defense capabilities.

g. Support of Taiwan by US Congress
The US House of Representatives passed the Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 17 by voice vote on September 11, 2012, supporting Taiwan’s participation in the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

h. Visits by senior US officials
The US continued to dispatch senior officials to Taiwan, including Demetrios Marantis, Deputy Trade Representative; Francisco J. Sánchez, Under Secretary of International Trade; Jose W. Fernandez, Assistant Secretary of State for Economic, Energy and Business Affairs; Joseph Krol, Associate Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration; Dawn L. McCall, Coordinator of the Bureau of International Information Programs; Mark Koumans, Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Affairs; and Atul Keshap, the US Senior Official for APEC.

i. Other visitors
The US continues to send delegations to Taiwan. Since the end of last August, 21 US delegations comprising 183 VIP guests have visited Taiwan.

(2) Relations with Europe/the EU: stable advancement
Since the Schengen visa waiver entered into effect in January 2011, MOFA has taken a multi-faceted, multi-layered and multi-channel approach to deepening its relations with Europe/the EU. As a result, the two sides have been able to engage in closer cooperation in the areas of trade and investment, culture, education, science and technology. The agenda of the 24th Annual Taiwan-EU Consultation last November showed the willingness of both sides to cooperate on various international issues and the broadening of Taiwan’s relations with Europe/the EU.

a.Resolutions supporting Taiwan by the European Parliament
To promote Taiwan-EU economic and trade relations, last year on December 3 the International Trade Committee of the European Parliament established a Monitoring Group (MG) in charge of Taiwan-EU economic relations. This year on January 30, the Group initiated its first meeting, which is expected to pave the way for the signing of an EU-Taiwan Economic Cooperation Agreement (ECA).

b. Bilateral cooperation
Since last October, Taiwan has signed a total of six bilateral agreements with Germany, Poland, Ireland, Italy, Belgium, and the European Molecular Biology Conference (EMBO) / European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO).

c. Visitors from Europe
From last August to this January, MOFA received 40 European delegations for a total of 157 visitors.

(3) Relations with Japan: continued deepening partnership despite disagreements
a. Maintaining consultations with Japan based on the East China Sea Peace Initiative
Under the principle of “not relinquishing an inch of land”, the government of the Republic of China (Taiwan) has reiterated its sovereignty over the Diaoyutai Islands and has proposed the East China Sea Peace Initiative. Under the initiative, the government has urged Japan to maintain regional peace, provide serious consideration to our bilateral relations, and hold pragmatic negotiations with us.

b. Heightening economic and trade cooperation based on our bilateral investment agreement
The signing of the Taiwan-Japan Bilateral Investment Agreement (BIA) last year on September 22 laid the foundation for expanded economic and trade cooperation. Since then, the two sides have signed a Mutual Recognition Agreement for certification on electrical and electronic products and an MOU on fostering industrial cooperation. We will continue to engage in consultations with Japan on a variety of items, such as tariffs, trade in services, and the flow of people and goods. By so doing, we can pave the road for the future signing of a bilateral economic cooperation agreement or a free trade agreement.

c. Visitors from Japan
Representative Hiroshi Nakai led a delegation to attend our National Day Celebration last year.

3. Pragmatically broadening Taiwan’s participation in international organizations
(1)World Trade Organization (WTO)
a.ROC Permanent Representative to the WTO Lai Shin-yuan has been serving as a coordinator for Recently Acceded Members (RAMs).
b.Taiwan has donated to the WTO Trade Facilitation Needs Assessment Trust and the Advisory Centre on WTO Law (ACWL). WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy welcomed Taiwan’s contributions, stating that this demonstrated Taiwan’s commitment to helping developing countries integrate into global economic and trade mechanisms.
c.Taiwan and the WTO jointly held a workshop on the Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS Agreement) for the Asia-Pacific region.

(2)World Health Organization (WHO)
Last year, Taiwan once again attended the World Health Assembly (WHA) as an observer and continued to seek to further expand its substantive participation in the WHO. In total, last year our officials and experts attended 12 WHO technical meetings in the name of Chinese Taipei.

(3)International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)
Luis Fernando Carrera Castro, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Guatemala and Council Member of the ICAO, signed a joint communiqué with me in December 2012, expressing support for the inclusion of Taiwan as an observer to the ICAO. In addition, the European Parliament passed last September its third resolution in support of Taiwan’s bid in this regard. Likewise, PARLACEN (the Central American Parliament) also approved a resolution in December 2012 supporting Taiwan’s bid to become an observer to the ICAO.

(4)Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)
a.MOFA will continue to promote economic and trade liberalization, and open up market access through the APEC platform so as to create conditions conducive to Taiwan’s participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.
b. Indonesia will serve as host to the APEC forum in 2013. MOFA has already gained a full understanding of the main topics to be promoted this year as well as the arrangement for this year’s ministerial and high-level meetings. We will seek to engage the other ministries and agencies of our government and coordinate their participation in these events. By taking part in APEC meetings and bilateral talks with other participants on joint cooperation, Taiwan can further strengthen its bonds with the other member economies.

(5)United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
Taiwan took part in the COP 18 of the UNFCCC at the end of 2012. In total, 18 countries spoke up for Taiwan or wrote to the UNFCCC Secretariat in support of our bid to join the organization.

(6)Other international organizations and activities
On September 23, 2012, Taiwan joined the South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organisation (SPRFMO).

4. Engaging in economic and trade diplomacy to increase the efficiency of Taiwan’s international economic and trade environment
(1)Promoting the signing of bilateral economic cooperation agreements (ECA)
Our talks with Singapore over the ASTEP and with New Zealand on an ECA have both entered the final stages of consultations. Meanwhile, Taiwan is working with think tanks from Indonesia, the Philippines, and India on the feasibility of signing a bilateral ECA with each of these countries in the future. Vietnam is also seriously considering to establish a research group with the aim to study such a possibility.

(2)Establishing a task force on ASEAN affairs at the Taipei Economic and Trade Office in Jakarta, Indonesia: to promote Taiwan’s participation in regional economic integration.

(3)Boosting Taiwan’s ICT industry
Taiwan hosted the 2012 Workshop on ICT at the end of last year, with 13 mid- or high-level officials from 11 countries in West Asia, and Central and Eastern Europe taking part in the program. This event explored potential business opportunities and future joint ventures between the participating countries and Taiwanese enterprises.

5. Assisting young people to participate in international affairs, thereby further spurring international exchanges
To broaden the international perspectives of Taiwan’s youths and better leverage the country’s soft power, MOFA continued to carry out a number of projects for youths, including Youth Ambassadors, High-School Student Diplomats, youth working holiday agreements, Taiwan Fellowships and Scholarships, overseas internship programs, Public Diplomacy Seminars for the general public and youths, National Development Courses, TaiwanICDF Overseas Volunteers and the Overseas Substitute Service, the International Youth Culture and Study Camp, and receiving delegations comprising youth scholars, as well as political and party leaders.

6. Stepping up campaigns for Taiwan’s policies and image
MOFA arranged a number of interviews with the President by key international media outlets so as to introduce our major policies and positions. It also invited the media to cover overseas visits made by high-level officials from Taiwan. In addition, MOFA conducted media campaigns in order to elaborate on Taiwan’s sovereignty claims over the Diaoyutai Islands and the South China Sea, as well as the East China Sea Peace Initiative and our attempts to join international organizations, such as the WHA, APEC, and the UNFCCC.

7. Introducing measures aimed at providing greater convenience for the public and foreigners visiting Taiwan
MOFA has worked hard to spur the inclusion of Taiwan into the visa-waiver and landing visa programs of other countries and territories, and to make it easier for foreigners to obtain better visa treatment when visiting Taiwan. Currently, 132 countries and territories grant ROC passport holders visa waivers or landing visas. Likewise, since September 2012, Taiwan has included Croatia and Brunei into its list of visa-free and landing visa treatment countries. In addition, to further improve passport services for the people of southern Taiwan, MOFA set up a Yunlin-Chiayi-Tainan office in Chiayi on December 28, 2012.

8. Helping restructure the government and boosting its efficiency
(1) Completing relevant supporting regulations on restructuring the government and boosting its efficiency
In accordance with the Organization Act of Diplomatic Missions of the Republic of China (Taiwan), MOFA has completed relevant supporting regulations on the government’s restructuring as well as relevant codes on streamlining authority and sharing resources when engaging in foreign affairs. To this end, MOFA intends to strengthen the coordination capabilities of its agencies, improve the overall performance of its overseas missions, and boost the Ministry’s overall efficiency.

(2) Reviewing human resources and adjusting talent development in response to government restructuring so as to further boost efficiency
In response to government restructuring, MOFA reviewed the human resources of its domestic and overseas news divisions in accordance with their workloads and made personnel adjustments accordingly. In total, MOFA added 7 overseas news divisions, and increased the staff of 15 missions and reduced that of 14 missions.

9. Other major achievements
(1)Promoting Chinese culture and setting up Taiwan Academies abroad
MOFA actively assisted the Ministry of Culture in setting up Taiwan Academies and contact points worldwide. Thus far, Taiwan Academies have been established in 64 countries with 204 contact points, forming a global network for cooperation and partnership.

In addition, MOFA has actively introduced Chinese culture with Taiwan characteristics to the international community by assisting our art and cultural groups travel abroad to hold exhibitions and performances. It not only has helped the Taiwan Chefs Association introduce Taiwan’s gourmet, but also has highlighted other aspects of Taiwan’s multifaceted and fine culture. For example, MOFA helped the indigenous pop singer Suming with his band’s tour to Fiji and two other South Pacific allies last November.

(2)Fostering academic diplomacy and encouraging scholars at home and abroad to study major issues related with our foreign policy
MOFA continues to encourage Taiwanese scholars to visit well-known universities, academic institutions, and think tanks for research and exchanges. In addition, this year the Taiwan Fellowship will offer grants to 75 outstanding scholars to come to Taiwan for research and study, thereby helping to consolidate our relations with academic communities worldwide.

(3)Carrying out humanitarian aid to contribute to the international community
a.MOFA purchased 200 tons of white rice in December 2012 for the Taiwan Root Medical Peace Corps and the Sun Lun Charitable Foundation, which was founded by Taiwanese businesspeople in Indonesia to help the poor in Indonesia.
b.At the end of December last year, MOFA helped the Eden Social Welfare Foundation donate 200 wheelchairs to physically and mentally challenged and orphans in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, and another 100 wheelchairs to Nepal’s anti-landmine organizations.

IV. MOFA’s cCurrent priorities and outlook

1.Creating a friendly, convenient, and beneficial environment to expand Taiwan’s international participation

With a virtuous cycle having been established in cross-strait relations thanks to viable diplomacy, MOFA will continue to strengthen the bonds between the Republic of China (Taiwan) and our diplomatic allies, and to deepen the mutually beneficial relations we enjoy with non-diplomatic allies. We will continue to seek meaningful and substantial participation in the UN system and functional inter-governmental organizations as we adhere to the principles of dignity, self-reliance, pragmatism, and versatility. This will allow for us to give back to the international community and to expand our room for development.

2.Promoting the East China Sea Peace Initiative and safeguarding territorial sovereignty

Adhering to the principles of safeguarding sovereignty, shelving disputes, pursuing peace and reciprocity, and promoting joint exploration and development, we urge all parties concerned to resolve disputes in a peaceful manner based on the UN Charter and international law. We will promote the East China Sea Peace Initiative in two stages. In the first, we will focus on peaceful dialogue and mutually beneficial consultations; in the second, we will focus on the sharing and joint exploration of resources. Three concurrent sets of bilateral talks (between Taiwan and Japan, Taiwan and mainland China, and mainland China and Japan) will, we hope, gradually progress toward trilateral consultations on fisheries, mining, marine research and protecting the maritime environment, and maritime security and unconventional security. Our aim is to shelve disputes, create a win-win situation, and promote joint exploration and sharing of resources.

3.Finding new channels that allow for distribution, marketing, and talented individuals to bolster the economy and trade

A task force has been established by MOFA to promote the economy and trade, and to assist MOFA staff in capacity-building related to economic and trade diplomacy. It aims to win procurement opportunities from foreign governments, to assist Taiwan’s SMEs to expand into new emerging markets, to explore international business opportunities and marketing channels, and to promote the signing of FTA-level ECAs with major trading partners, so as to gain momentum for a dynamic that may be leveraged into our accession to the RCEP and TPP. Moreover, how well they have promoted the economy and trade will be a major factor in the annual performance assessments of missions abroad.

4.Implementing strategies to assist Taiwan’s young people in international exchanges so as to foster people-to-people diplomacy

A task force has been established to promote young people’s participation in international affairs. It will integrate various MOFA projects that help young people participate in international affairs. Employing a variety of marketing strategies while leveraging the power of the Internet and social networks, the task force will effectively help Taiwan’s young people engage the world and young people from around the world better understand Taiwan. This will, in turn, promote Taiwan’s soft power.

5.Improving policy briefings and exerting soft power through cultural exchanges

MOFA will post its publications on its website to allow for easier global access; cooperate with major international TV channels to expand the global penetration of our message; improve policy briefings and explain our position concerning sovereignty over the Diaoyutai Islands and the South China Sea as well as the East China Sea Peace Initiative; and declare our readiness to participate in international organizations and regional economic integration. These efforts will craft a positive image of Taiwan that resonates around the world. MOFA will marshal its resources to improve Taiwan’s image through publications, public diplomacy, and artists and arts groups. We will continue to monitor closely the coverage of Taiwan in the international media, and provide clarifications and rebuttals to inappropriate or incorrect reports in a timely fashion.

6.Reinforcing customer-oriented service and enhancing citizen convenience in living and traveling

As per government policy, MOFA will continue to review the requirements and measures that non-citizens must follow in applying for an ROC visa. We will continue in our effort to go paperless by introducing on-line applications for document authentication. This will improve service and build credibility. We will continue to improve MOFA emergency contact mechanisms the better to provide emergency assistance to ROC citizens traveling abroad, and will promote this service in the media so as to better ensure ROC citizens’ safety. In addition, we will introduce convenient mobile consular services for overseas compatriots.

V. Conclusion

The ROC’s foreign policy aims to ensure sovereignty and security as well as to create an international environment supportive of national development. Due to Taiwan’s unique international situation, we must take a pragmatic approach to diplomacy. As we move forward, we will adhere to the viable diplomacy policy while safeguarding sovereignty, promoting soft power; creating a friendly, convenient, and beneficial international environment for our country; giving back to the international community; improving service; and increasing administrative efficiency. We will further cooperate with such government agencies as the Ministry of Economic Affairs to promote economic and trade diplomacy, so as to lay a solid foundation for consolidating our sovereignty and our people’s well-being.

Thank you for your timeattention.