Wed, Nov 21, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Democracy’s importance forms the focus of forum

By Rich Chang  /  Staff reporter, with CNA

The Taiwan Foundation for Democracy, with Argentina’s Torcuato Di Tella University, on Saturday co-hosted an international conference in Buenos Aires in which a number of international academics were invited to discuss democratic governance, involvement, participation, information and responsibility, the foundation said yesterday.

In the opening ceremony, Taiwan’s representative to Argentina Matthew Lee (李世明) quoted US scholar John Dewey, saying that democracy is a lifestyle.

Lee added that democracy could increase people’s welfare.

Taiwan created its so-called “economic miracle” after the emergence of democracy, which allowed Taiwanese to enjoy the best living standards in the history of “ethnically Chinese countries,” Lee said.

Lee added that Taiwan hopes to share its democratic experiences with Latin American countries.

Lee said a democratic society is beneficial for the peaceful resolution of international disputes.

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) proposed the “East China Sea peace initiative” in order to deal with the recent disputes surrounding sovereignty claims over the Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台).

Ma said he wanted to see a series of initial bilateral talks between Taiwan and Japan, Taiwan and China and China and Japan as a basis for later trilateral talks, and hoped all parties concerned would cooperate to develop the area and establish guidelines for appropriate behavior.

Lee said the proposal had gained international support and hoped that such a topic could be discussed at a future conference.

Taiwan Foundation for Democracy chief executive Huang Teh-fu (黃德福) told the forum that new communication channels, such as Twitter and Facebook, have become powerful tools which can help trigger democratic transformations, encourage democratic transitions and solidify democratic power.

Academics attending the conference came from diverse countries, including Brazil, Chile, Argentina, the UK, the US and Taiwan and submitted a number of articles during the conference, the foundation said.

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