Taipei, Nov. 3 (CNA) A legislative friendship group that seeks to build closer ties with the member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was established in Taipei on Tuesday to promote regional peace, regional economic development and bilateral trades.
Ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chen Ou-po, who heads the "Taiwan-ASEAN Parliamentary Friendship Association," said at a ceremony to announce its establishment that the group will seek to enhance exchanges with the 10 ASEAN members states of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.
A large number of new immigrant spouses in Taiwan come from the ASEAN countries and the group hopes to work closely with them to promote ties, Chen said.
Around 30 lawmakers across party lines have joined the friendship association, according to Chen.
Speaking during the ceremony, Legislative Yuan Secretary-general Lin Jih-jia expressed gratitude on behalf of the lawmaking body for lawmakers' efforts to promote "legislative diplomacy" and showcase the nation's culture and soft power on the world stage.
He expressed the hope that a legislative delegation will be able to visit ASEAN countries soon after the COVID-19 pandemic subsides.
Meanwhile, Taiwan's Overseas Community Affairs Council (OCAC) Minister Tung Chen-yuan and Transportation Minister Lin Chia-lung also attended Tuesday's ceremony.
Lin said Taiwan should position itself as a Southeast Asian country, in which case it will be a brother to all ASEAN nations.
Both sides have built comprehensive relations with close exchanges and frequent two-way visits forged by new immigrant spouses, migrant workers, students, Taiwanese businesspeople and tourists, Lin said.
Tung said most overseas Taiwanese businesses have chosen to do business in ASEAN countries, with at least 600,000 businesspeople and their family members currently based in ASEAN countries.
The New Southbound Policy launched by the current administration in May 2015 to enhance ties with ASEAN has built a solid foundation for bilateral ties and has raised relations to the next level, he added.