asia

Taiwanese eats are a key part of the country's soft power in Asia, and this is never any truer than it is for South Koreans. Tourists from the country are easy to spot in every Carrefour, filling their baskets with local snacks. Chief among them are pineapple cakes, the buttery pastry filled with sweet pineapple-flavored jam that may or may not contain actual pineapple.

Kim Young-tae, a Korean transport policy expert, on Thursday was named secretary general of the International Transport Forum (ITF), an intergovernmental body under the OECD. It is the first time a Korean has been named to a director position of A7, the highest among grades that range from A1 at the OECD. [...] "Well, Korea as a country has been spotlighted for its rapid development. It rose from the ashes of war. Many countries want to learn how Korea built its top-notch transportation infrastructure in such a short amount of time." He said

The two-day OBOR summit, one of the most eagerly anticipated events in China this year, ended on May 15. Party mouthpieces referred to the meeting as a high-level international conference with far-reaching implications for the whole world. [...] If anything, the summit was marked by three things— big fat cheques, thunderous applause and hype surrounding president Xi Jinping’s “achievements”.[...] XI vowed pledged to provide an extra 60 billion yuan in foreign aid for countries along the economic corridor plus 2 billion yuan in emergency food aid.

Speaking during his formal oath-taking ceremony on Wednesday, Moon pledged to work for peace on the Korean Peninsula amid growing worry over the North's expanding nuclear weapons and missiles programme. "I am willing to go anywhere for the peace of the Korean Peninsula," Moon said. "If needed, I will fly immediately to Washington. I will go to Beijing and I will go to Tokyo. If the conditions shape up, I will go to Pyongyang."

Taiwan should be the regional leader in soft diplomacy as well. It has plenty to offer the world. Taiwan is the only Chinese-speaking democratic nation in the world, its press is unrestricted, and its citizens enjoy total online freedom. Add into this the fact that it has consistently punched above its weight economically and Taiwan has plenty to take to the wider world to counter-weight the obvious diplomatic difficulties that they face.

China has begun using the One-Belt-One-Road project, rechristened the Belt-and-Road Initiative (BRI), for expanding diplomatic engagement and securing strategic mileage. India might find itself strategically cramped as several countries from Asia and Europe get more committed to the Chinese connectivity plan, leaving India isolated. In a major public diplomacy exercise, China has announced scholarships for at least 3,000 students from countries and regions around BRI.

Taiwan’s “digital minister,” Audrey Tang, a computer prodigy and entrepreneur who taught herself programming at age 8, says she’s a “civic hacker” who like a locksmith uses specialized skills to help rather than harm. Appointed by leaders hoping to better connect with young voters who helped sweep independence-leaning President Tsai Ing-wen into office last year, the 35-year-old Tang is using her expertise to more directly involve the public in policymaking, and to counter “fake news.”

The Foreign Affairs Ministry will this year spend €251,862.16 on development projects to impoverished countries. The money will be distributed across 12 different projects from local non-governmental development organisations (NGDOs) across Asia, Africa and South America as part of the government’s Official Development Assistance policy.

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