Mon, Dec 11, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Peace building starts with democracy, experts say

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Democracy is the ultimate solution to war and peaceful dialogue is the way to maintain peace, experts attending an international symposium said yesterday.

"As democracy matures, the likelihood of war is markedly reduced," said former vice minister of defense Lin Chong-pin (林中斌), the moderator of the symposium on Asia-Pacific security.

The event was the last item on the agenda of the two-day international symposium hosted by the Pacific Congressional Caucus (PCC), a subgroup of the Democratic Pacific Union (DPU).

Lin said yesterday that since the collapse of the former Soviet Union and East European communism, the Asia-Pacific region has fast become the largest concentration of military forces and China's People Liberation Army has been underestimated.

Lin said the US had "suddenly woken up" last year because Beijing had made a dramatic leap forward in military might.

As the Taiwan Strait is a flashpoint in the Asia-Pacific region, Lin said it is important that China becomes democratized so peace and prosperity can be ensured in the area.

Vasily Ivanovich Usoltsev, a member of Russia's State Duma, said that any military conflict in the Taiwan Strait is bound to affect the interests of the Asia-Pacific region and the whole world.

"Russia welcomes cross-strait dialogue and supports negotiation of direct transportation links so bilateral relations can be further normalized," he said.

Leandro Avila, deputy of Panama's National Assembly, agreed, saying that peaceful dialogue and negotiations are the way to achieve and maintain peace.

Regarding North Korea's nuclear ambition, Avila expressed the hope that the US, China and North Korea would sit down and talk to promote regional stability.

"Peace is worth fighting for at all cost," he said. "Only peace can bring prosperity and economic development."

John Murphy, a member of the Australian House of Representatives, said the advancement of democracy, good governance and human rights will further contribute to a peaceful and prosperous Asia-Pacific region.

"It is very important that until differences between Taipei and Beijing can be resolved peacefully the status quo should be maintained," he said. "Each side should avoid provocative or unilateral steps that might be misunderstood or lead to increased tensions."

Although the Australian government and opposition support the "one China" policy, Murphy said Australians consider that any adverse developments in cross-strait relations will have a serious impact on both the security and economic wellbeing of the entire Asia-Pacific region.

Taiwan can be sure of Australia's continued support for a peaceful region, he said. The maintenance of good cross-strait relations benefits the whole world, he said.

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