Wed, May 15, 2013 - Page 4 News List

DPP touts starting regional alliance to boost democracy

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Academics and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday advocated the establishment of a democratic alliance, based on participants’ firm belief in democracy, to advance human rights and freedom, and to combat the global phenomenon of a retreating democratic movement.

DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), who initiated the campaign on a visit to Japan in February, told a forum organized by the DPP at its headquarters in Taipei yesterday that the value-based alliance would seek to consolidate East Asian democratic countries in particular.

The alliance would not be a forum for military cooperation, but a platform of governments, political parties and societies, DPP Policy Research Committee executive director Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) said.

Democracies, including Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Australia, India and the US, which share the same democratic values should be able to build a strong partnership on regional issues, Wu said, adding that the alliance would prioritize cooperation over competition.

The initiative is a new form of diplomacy that emphasizes core values — the soul of a nation — over short-term strategic interests, former deputy foreign minister Michael Kao (高英茂) said.

Academia Sinica political scientist Hsu Szu-chien (徐斯儉) defended criticism of the alliance over its “potential to bring back a Cold War structure.”

“It does not advocate a new Cold War structure in East Asia and it should not either,” Hsu said, adding that civil societies, including non-governmental organizations, should be the primary players in the alliance, which encourages transparency, mutual trust and peace.

The democratic system and its values, and the process of its development, is Taiwan’s most precious non-transferable asset, said Michael Hsiao (蕭新煌), chairman of the Academia Sinica’s Institute of Sociology.

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