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Thailand, Japan former officials urge expanded cooperation with Taiwan

2017/10/12 19:32:06

Tokuichiro Tamazawa

Taipei, Oct. 12 (CNA) Two former government ministers from Japan and Thailand on Thursday called on their respective countries to build further cooperation with Taiwan, saying such links would help preserve peace and stability in the Asian region.

On second day of the Yushan Forum in Taipei, Tokuichiro Tamazawa, Japan's former minister of agriculture, forestry and fisheries, said his country should start negotiations with Taiwan on an economic partnership agreement (EPA).

Noting that food trade is an important component of Taiwan's New Southbound Policy, Tamazawa said two-way trade between Japan and Taiwan, as well as between ASEAN countries and Taiwan, would help shift Taiwan's economic dependence on China to the ASEAN countries.

"I sincerely hope Japan can start the negotiations with Taiwan on the EPA issue," the former minister said.

He said political cooperation is also important and Japan, Taiwan, the U.S., and other likeminded democracies should work together to ensure continued peace and stability in the Asian region.

Thailand's former Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya expressed similar views in his luncheon keynote speech, lauding Taiwan's economic competitiveness and its successful political transformation over the past few decades.

"Taiwan can share its experience and knowhow so that we can all enjoy both economic and political freedoms," he said.

Political exchanges should be a component of Taiwan's New Southbound Policy, alongside its cultural and economic initiatives, he said.

Piromya said the valuable lessons from Taiwan can help bring about the change in societies in South and Southeast Asia.

The Yushan Forum, a newly launched platform for regional dialogue to promote an exchange of ideas across the Asia Pacific, is being held in Taipei Oct. 11 and 12.

(By Kuan-lin Liu)