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Taiwan seeks to expand ties with Myanmar, India

2012/04/28 15:13:30

Taipei, April 28 (CNA) Taiwan is working to expand economic and political ties with Myanmar and India through a policy of viable diplomacy, Foreign Minister Timothy Yang said.

Although the two countries do not hold official diplomatic ties with Taiwan, further exchanges can still be achieved through diplomatic efforts, said Yang in an interview with CNA.

Coined by Ma when he assumed the presidency in 2008, the term "viable diplomacy" refers to Taiwan's diplomatic policy of expanding its presence in the international community while not engaging in political competition with China.

Taking Myanmar as an example, the minister said that its close relations with China in the past have disrupted its relationship with Taiwan.

"Although we have made every possible effort, Myanmar's responses have remained far from ideal," Yang said.

With a series of sweeping reforms underway there and the improvement of cross-Taiwan Strait relations, Yang said that Taiwan should emerge in time as a reliable partner in fields like economics, trade and democracy development.

Acknowledging Myanmar's democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi's achievements and contribution, Yang also said that "her visit, if possible, would be warmly welcomed."

Meanwhile, the minister noted the deepening of relations between Taiwan and India -- another diplomatic ally of China -- by citing Ma's recent refueling stopover in Mumbai en route to Africa earlier this month.

Ma was the first Taiwan president to transit in Mumbai. The incident received wide media attention and was dubbed a "breakthrough" by local political commentators.

"India is a big opportunity and market (for us)," Yang said, adding that viable diplomacy has enabled Taiwan to have a greater presence there.

In light of this, the foreign ministry has previously announced it will establish an overseas mission in Chennai to encourage business exchanges and tourism, he said.

(By Nancy Liu)