With the Philippines as its major partner, the Republic of China (Taiwan) government has introduced the “New Southbound Policy” which aims to expand multifaceted cooperation and build a firm partnership among ASEAN and South Asian Nations.
“We, in Taiwan, tend to look at the North. We look at the USA, Europe, Japan, China. But we overlook our closest neighbors – the Philippines and even other ASEAN-member states. So, the new government decided to cherish or diversify our focus to our community, our close neighbors,” Dr. Gary Song-Huann Lin, Representative of Taiwan (ROC) to the Philippines, explained to The Manila Times.
“Under President-elect Tsai Ing-wen’s administration, the much-awaited policy has been realized. Based on this, Taiwan will double its efforts to broaden its relations with the Philippines “not only in trade and investment, agriculture, fisheries, aquaculture, SMEs, ICT, climate change, but especially in education and culture.”
“We try to come up with a mutual understanding and cultural exchanges, even educational cooperation with our neighboring countries, particularly the Philippines,” he added.
Proving this is the visit of 20 chosen students from Taiwan to the Philippines from August 29 to September 4, as part of the annual Taiwan Youth Ambassadorship Program.
They had a public performance on August 31 at the Medicine Auditorium of the University of the Santo Tomas.
“The performance was the promotion of our cultural exchanges. The Taiwan Youth Ambassadors’ visit to the Philippines is a reflection of two peoples exchanging culture and the enhancement of mutual understanding. By their performance, people saw Taiwan’s culture and rich history,” said Song-Huann Lin.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of China (Taiwan), which handles the International Youth Ambassadors Program, started its quest to grow people-to-people interactions between two countries in 2009.
Headed by Minister Odi Shri-ren Sun, the program allows talented university students from Taiwan to participate in international exchange activities and broaden their horizons, while demonstrating the vitality and creativity of Taiwan’s youth and highlighting the positive role that the Taiwan plays in the international community.
The theme for 2016 is “Dynamic Youth, Friendly Taiwan.” The youth ambassadors travel overseas to attend meetings and seminars, hold cultural exchanges, and stage performances to promote mutual understanding between Taiwan and host nations, while raising awareness of Taiwan’s contributions to humanitarian causes and sustainable development in partner countries.
Song-Huann Lin believes that the two countries share common values of freedom, democracy, friendliness and vitality. With this, he assured that both nations will do more in the future. They also welcome students to study in their country and to have more professors from the Philippines to teach in Taiwan. The representative also encourages more Taiwanese to visit the Philippines.