Two Washington-based non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI) and the International Republican Institute (IRI), are to establish offices in Taiwan after they were sanctioned by Beijing last year.
The two institutes, along with the US National Endowment for Democracy (NED), Freedom House and Human Rights Watch were sanctioned last year after speaking in support of Hong Kong democracy activists and as well as being part of China’s tit-for-tat reaction against US President Donald Trump signing the US’ Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act.
Representative to the US Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) extended a welcome to the NGOs, saying in a tweet that their Taipei offices would “further connect our civil societies and be a significant voice for advancing democracy in the region.”
Both institutes, which focus on helping developing countries increase the efficacy of their democratic systems, receive funding from the NED, the US Department of State and the US Agency for International Development.
“Taiwan’s democracy is a model for the Asia-Pacific region and the world,” NDI regional director for the Asia-Pacific Manpreet Singh Anand said on Wednesday.
“Through our new office, NDI will strengthen and expand partnerships with Taiwan’s civic tech community, legislature and government officials. We will support Taiwan’s efforts to share its democratic experiences to promote governance that is citizen-responsive, transparent, accountable and inclusive of all,” he said.
In a separate news release, IRI president Daniel Twining said: “From our Taipei base, we will work with our partners to highlight Taiwan’s hard-won democratic lessons, strengthen networks of Asia’s democratic actors and build resilience against malign authoritarian influence in the region... As the CCP [Chinese Communist Party] becomes more aggressive in violating the global rules-based order, now is the time for all democracies ... to invest in strengthening ties with Taiwan.”
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