The foreign policy of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, who was elected in 2016, will be closely watched by Beijing and countries in Southeast Asia. Before her inauguration, Tsai stated that her administration would pursue a so-called “New Go South Policy” (xin nanxiang zhengce), i.e. a foreign policy focused on building up ties with countries in Southeast Asia as well as in South Asia. A similar policy was initiated by two former presidents of Taiwan, Lee Teng-hui and Chen Shui-bian. This article provides a framework to analyze the determinants, objectives, policy dimensions and scope of President Tsai’s New Go South Policy. It examines and compares the Go South Policies of previous administrations, together with former President Ma Ying-jeou’s policy towards Southeast Asia. Based on these discussions, a prospective policy analysis of President Tsai’s Go South Policy is provided. It is argued that Tsai’s Go South Policy will help enhance Taiwan’s soft power, increase the island’s presence in Southeast Asia but will not be used to counterbalance China–Taiwan economic integration.


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pp. 96-126
Launched on MUSE
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