Think tank recommends closer alignment between Taiwan, Canada

04/05/2019 04:25 PM
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Toronto, April 4 (CNA) Taiwan is a natural choice in Canada's bid for closer alignment with free and democratic societies in the Indo-Pacific region, Brett Byers, the communications manager of a Canadian think tank, said in an opinion piece on Wednesday.

Byers said Taiwan is a source of stability and one of the largest economies in the region, where some states, like others elsewhere, seem unwilling to operate by the rules and norms that contribute to global peace and stability.

"In a world of growing tensions, slower economies, and political upheaval, countries like Canada need allies with shared values, particularly in the Indo-Pacific," Byers wrote in the Canadian newspaper, The Hill Times.

He said democratic nations should work together to remain resilient in the face of these external forces and send the message that adherence to international norms is rewarded with partnership and cooperation.

"If Canada is looking to align itself more closely with free and democratic societies, it need look no further than Japan, India, America, Australia and -- of course -- Taiwan," said Byers, who works at the Macdonald-Laurier Institute.

"The government in Taipei is ready and willing to support a rules-based international order that will advance the objectives of like-minded democratic allies in the region," he wrote.

Byers cited Taiwan's New Southbound Policy as an example, saying Taiwan is playing a leadership role in strengthening economic and social cooperation among the Pacific Island, South and South-East Asian, and Oceanic states.

Launched in 2016 by President Tsai Ing-wen's (蔡英文) administration, the New Southbound Policy is aimed at enhancing cooperation and exchanges between Taiwan and countries in Southeast Asia, South Asia and Australasia.

Byers' opinion piece came in the wake of similar comments by Brian Lee Crowley, managing director of the Ottawa-based think tank, who wrote in the Toronto Globe and Mail on Jan. 15 that Canada could respond to the escalating tensions with China by building warmer relations with Taiwan.

He also recommended that Canada expel the Chinese ambassador, noting that tensions have been growing between the two countries over an extradition case involving Meng Wanzhou (孟晚舟), chief financial officer of the Chinese telecommunications and electronics giant Huawei.

(By Hu Yu-li and Chung Yu-chen)


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