Building a solid alliance against authoritarianism is the common goal of democratic nations worldwide, and Taiwan is willing to share its experience with the world, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said yesterday.
Tsai made the remarks at the Open Parliament Forum in Taipei, a two-day event that began yesterday.
In her opening speech, Tsai said that the participants were all key members of a solid democratic alliance that was expanding worldwide to repel authoritarianism.
Photo: Liu Hsin-de, Taipei Times
Having experienced authoritarian rule, Taiwanese know that democracy is “a hard-won fruit” and should be continually reinforced, she said, adding that Taiwan has brought greater transparency to its parliamentary operations.
Situated on the front line of democracies, Taiwan is willing to share its experience, and defend democracy and freedom together with all democratic partners, she said.
Belizean House of Representatives Speaker Valerie Woods said that Taiwan is an important development partner for Latin American and Caribbean countries, while its commitment to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 is welcomed by Belize, which feels deeply about the impact of climate change.
Belize would continue to advocate for Taiwan’s participation in the international arena, including UN events, she said.
In his speech, US National Democratic Institute president Derek Mitchell recalled visiting Taiwan 33 years ago as a Mandarin student.
At that time, martial law had just been lifted and Taiwan was uncertain about its future, but now it has become a “beacon of democracy in Asia,” he said.
Taiwan has demonstrated its resilience in the face of constant security threats, he added.
In March, the institute — which is cohosting the forum — opened a branch office in Taiwan, and it has been working with local legislators to promote open parliaments, Mitchell said.
The institute aims to become a regional hub, helping Taiwan develop ties with other democracies and promoting cooperation in areas such as combating disinformation, and youth and women’s participation in politics, he added.
Trust is the most important quality for a democracy, Mitchell said, reflecting on the first session’s theme: “Parliamentary transparency, trust and inclusiveness.”
A democracy thrives when there is trust between the government and society, which is not the case in some countries, he said.
In a prerecorded message, Czech Senate President Milos Vystrcil said he believes that the role played by engaged citizens remains “essential to the functioning of a standard democratic society.”
Other key principles of open governance are transparency and responsibility, he added.
Twenty-six members of parliament from 20 countries — including Belize, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and the US — are taking part in the forum, either in-person or via video link, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
Additional reporting by CNA
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