Taiwan is not attempting to compete with China’s One Belt One Road Initiative. That’s the word from Premier William Lai on Friday.
The premier was echoing remarks by President Tsai Ing-wen the previous day regarding the government’s New Southbound policy. The policy seeks to boost Taiwan’s trade and cultural ties with nations in Southeast and South Asia as well as Australia and New Zealand. Beijing’s One Belt One Road Initiative aims to create greater economic cooperation in Eurasia.
President Tsai said the two initiatives do not need to compete but may in fact be complementary. Premier Lai expanded on this, also mentioning the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), another China-led trade initiative.
"First, we respect China’s initiatives, whether it is the RCEP or the One Belt One Road. If our New Southbound policy and overseas development assistance programs can receive the same respect, then we can cooperate where there is space to cooperate. At the least, there is no need to sabotage each other," said Lai.
Lai said a warm cross-strait relationship is beneficial for Taiwan. He also said President Tsai’s goodwill towards China has not changed and that he hopes China will respond with similar goodwill.