Taiwan's foreign affairs ministry is calling for an increased budget to maintain important diplomatic relations with Taiwan's allies in the Pacific region. Lawmakers met on Thursday to continue the debate over how much additional funding needs to be allocated to the foreign affairs ministry.
Foreign Minister Joseph Wu says that building closer ties with Taiwan's Pacific allies is critical in order to prevent China from winning these nations' support instead.
The ministry also says it needs the funding to continue to participate in the Pacific Islands Forum, an intergovernmental organization geared at building cooperation between countries and territories in the Pacific region.
Wu also says that the ministry needs more funding so that Taiwan may join other international organizations formed by its Pacific allies in the future. He says that being a part of more organizations means Taiwan may receive more aid from countries like the US, Japan, and Australia.
In addition, Wu says that Taiwan needs to keep investing in its friendship with the self-declared African state of Somaliland. He says that both are democracies, with similar ideals and with significant fishing and mining industries. He says cooperation with Somaliland may also improve maritime patrols near the country, which would reduce the risk of pirates and unsafe conditions for Taiwan's fishing boats near the Horn of Africa.