Taiwan is looking to broaden links with Asian countries by offering investment projects and financial aid through both government and non-official channels, island representatives said yesterday. Their message to Asian leaders came a day after Beijing voiced its objection to Taiwan being involved in any joint governmental efforts to boost the region's economy. Top economic planner Chiang Pin-kung, representing President Lee Teng-hui at the summit, said Taiwan would invest in firms in the region through the newly established South East Asian Investment Company. A Taipei official said during bilateral meetings Mr Chiang invited leaders of Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines to visit Taiwan. The investment company, which aims to mobilise US$1 billion (HK$7.74 billion) from Taiwanese companies, had collected US$300 million so far, the official said. Mr Chiang told the leaders Taiwan would look at companies and projects in their countries in which the company could invest. 'In the meantime, we are looking at investment possibilities at some Malaysian electronic and petrochemical companies,' the official said. He denied the company was aimed at circumventing Beijing's objection to Taiwan governmental involvement. The official said: 'Taiwan is one of the few Asian economies willing and able to do something. 'We believe in equal membership of APEC. We have the right, but also the obligation, to help.' The investment company was only part of Taiwan's initiative to participate in the recovery programme. It would explore ways to participate in other aid programmes initiated by APEC and the Asian Development Bank, said the official. 'We'll be seeking the opportunity to participate,' he said. 'To deprive us of this right is not just our loss but all the economies here.' Beijing has sought to undermine Taiwan's attempts to strengthen relations with Asian countries through aid. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhu Bangzao reiterated yesterday that Taiwan's aid must be restricted to non-governmental channels. He said: 'Our position on this is clear cut. Taiwan is not a sovereign state.' Taiwan had earlier suggested raising US$1 billion through 'collateralised bond obligations' to help the region's battered economies. Under the plan, Taiwan would provide US$250 million in the hope of soliciting support from other APEC members.