The two-year epidemic has severely impacted the well-being of the international community. In order to demonstrate the fruitful results and determination of the New Southbound Policy in continuing to cultivate regional partnerships, the Taiwan Asia Exchange Foundation held the 2021 Yushan Forum on the 8th of October 2021. The theme for this year’s Forum was “Resetting Priorities of Progress with Resilience”. This forum included politicians, experts, scholars, business leaders, and civil representatives from more than 10 countries, who shared with the international community the important contributions of Taiwan and Asian countries in post-epidemic development, and the plan for the New Southward Policy and the vision of cooperation with Indo-Pacific allies.
At this critical moment, when the New Southbound Policy is entering its fifth year, President Tsai Ing-wen pointed out in her opening ceremony speech that since the New Southbound Policy was promoted in 2016, Taiwan has signed more than 80 cooperation agreements with partner countries. Taiwan is situated in a fast-growing Indo-Pacific region. It is willing and able to continue to share and cooperate with Asian partners in diverse fields such as biotechnology, semiconductors, disaster prevention, and medical resources. President Tsai further stated that even though Taiwan has no intention of triggering a military conflict, it will firmly guard its democratic system.
Chairman Hsin-Huang Michael Hsiao of the Taiwan-Asia Exchange Foundation said, "In the era of social distancing, Taiwan’s New Southbound Policy is continuing to create new social connections. I want to reiterate here: with new opportunities, new regional trends, and new allies. The New Southbound Policy is prepared to enter the new second stage and promote inclusive regional growth. " He emphasized that in the hope of assisting the government to build a resilient foundation for the "New Southbound 2.0", Taiwan-Asia Exchange Foundation planned to publish this year "From Taiwan to Asia: Taiwan’s NGO Aid Actions in the Epidemic", a series of surveys on "Taiwan and Taiwanese Business Image Survey Project", and the "Asian Youth and Future Work" report as well as to promote institutional cooperation in Asian curation.
Former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott strongly supported Taiwan's participation in international organizations and attended the opening ceremony of this year's Yushan Forum. Abbott believed that Australia must work with partners who share the same democratic values to support Taiwan, including responding to Taiwan's participation in the "Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership" (CPTPP). He further advocated that the future of Taiwan should be determined by the people of the country, and said that any coercive actions by Beijing will outweigh the gains.
In a positive response to the opening of the Yushan Forum, former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe used a telegram to convey the friendship between Japan and Taiwan, stating that the two countries share similar democratic values and continue to aid each other during the epidemic. He also pointed out that Taiwan has the ability to make significant contributions to the international community through digital technology and innovation, and promote consensus among nations through the Yushan Forum.
For the fourth consecutive year, member of the Japanese House of Representatives in the Diet and Chairman, Japan-ROC Diet Members’ Consultative Council the Hon. Keiji Furuya attended the meeting. He stated that in the face of China’s growing military threat, the United States, Japan, and Taiwan should initiate a tripartite security cooperation framework. In addition, when Japan and other countries sharing similar ideologies like rule of law, human rights, and democracy, deepen their relations and cooperation, they must also include Taiwan.
This year’s Yushan Forum also invited Keith Krach, Former Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment of the U.S. State Department, to speak during the first session on "Jointly Promoting Cooperation in the New Reality" He also talked with representatives of the governments of Taiwan, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Australia on the prospect of the resilient partnerships between the New Southbound countries and the Indo-Pacific allies.