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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

MOFA to launch new Indo Pacific section

ROC Central News Agency

2018/05/08 20:54:44

Taipei, May 8 (CNA) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) is preparing to set up a new Indo-Pacific section that will be responsible for Australian, New Zealand and Indian affairs, as part of Taiwan's implementation of its New Southbound Policy, Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) said Tuesday.

The new section, which will come under MOFA's Department of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, is being established in keeping with current geopolitical trends and with the goal of enhancing Taiwan's ties in the region, Wu said at a media roundtable.

With the establishment of the new section on Friday, he said, his ministry will increase the staff in the Department of East Asian and Pacific Affairs from 33 to 40.

The department currently has eight sections, two of which will be merged to form the Indo-Pacific section, according to a MOFA source that asked not to be named because they were not authorized to speak on the subject.

The new section will incorporate the existing sections that deal with South Asian, Korean, New Zealand and Australian affairs, while some of the other sections will be reshuffled, the source said.

Under Taiwan's New Southbound Policy, it is seeking to enhance cooperation and exchanges with 18 countries in Southeast Asia, South Asia and Australasia.

In March, Alex Wong (黃之瀚), deputy assistant secretary of the U.S. State Department, said during a visit to Taipei that the U.S. and Taiwan can work together to sustain the free and open order of the Indo-Pacific.

The Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy, introduced in November 2017 by the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump, encompasses an area stretching from the U.S. West Coast to Japan, down through Southeast Asia to Australia, and west across the Indian Ocean to India.

(By Joseph Yeh)

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