Mon, Aug 15, 2005 - Page 1 News List

Chen urges democratization of China

CALL TO ACTION In an address at the first meeting of the Democratic Pacific Union, the President said China's economic rise should be accompanied by democratic reforms

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday called upon the political leaders of 26 Pacific Rim nations to help bring democracy to China -- something he sees as a key mission of the newly-founded Democratic Pacific Union (DPU).

Chen made the remarks while addressing the inaugural meeting of the DPU, a non-governmental organization with representatives of 26 nations around the Pacific Rim that is dedicated to promoting the value of democracy worldwide. Taiwan took the lead in forming the union.

The DPU, which is based on the principles of "democracy, peace and prosperity," was formally established yesterday in Taipei. Seventy-one guests attended a two-day forum to exchange opinions regarding the principles.

The guests included the presidents of Costa Rica and Guatemala, as well as other high ranking government officials, professionals, academics and representatives of major NGOs.

While saying that the establishment of the DPU provides a new impetus for the realization of a democratic, peaceful, and prosperous Pacific century, Chen said that it is regrettable that China remains a missing part of the DPU.

"I would like to remind all of you that the so-called `rise of China' is based on many complex factors, such as China's huge market and economic appeal, its expanding military capabilities, the potential for socio-economic turmoil, the political center's ability to stay in control and the issue of whether political democratization can be liberalized steadily. China's rise is not one-dimensional," Chen said.

Chen said that no one wishes to see China collapse because the international community would not be able to bear the consequences of such a collapse.

He said that the rise of China must be accompanied by "peaceful awakening" and "the beginning of democracy." DPU members must come together to shoulder the mission of transforming China into a positive force in the Pacific Community of democracies.

The inauguration of the DPU coincided with the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II with Japan's surrender.

Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮), who was just elected as the DPU chair, gave a keynote speech at the inaugural meeting, saying that while the establishment of the DPU may be a small step for some, it is a giant leap for the 23 million people of Taiwan.

"With Japan's surrender 60 years ago, five decades of colonial rule in Taiwan was brought to an end. Now, China, which was invaded by Japan, threatens not just Taiwan but every corner of the Pacific Ocean with its aggressive expansion of military power. Taiwan has suffered its share of tragic historical absurdity," she said.

Given these experiences, Lu said that Taiwan is honored to be able to stand at an important historical crossroads with leaders of Pacific Rim countries who desire a brighter future for the Pacific.

"We believe that without democracy, there is no peace; without democracy and peace, there is no genuine prosperity," Lu said.

Dr Abel Pacheco de la Espriella, the president of Costa Rica, called on the DPU's 26 nations to eliminate the abuse of marine resources so that sustainable development can be achieved.

The president said that the nations should work hand in hand to eliminate injustice in the society and create a fair and equitable future for their people.

President of Guatemala Oscar Jose Rafael Berger Perdomo stressed the importance of democracy Sunday, saying that democratization helps create jobs and distribute wealth more equally.

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