President urges democracies to stand against authoritarian regimes

05/10/2021 10:12 PM
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Source: The Presidential Office

Taipei, May 10 (CNA) President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Monday called on democracies around the world to stand together to defend their shared values in the face of threats posed by the expansion of authoritarian regimes.

"Upholding democracy, peace, and stability is a responsibility that we all share," Tsai said in her keynote speech by video for the 4th Copenhagen Democracy Summit organized by the Alliance of Democracies, a non-governmental organization.

"That is why we must strengthen our global alliance of democracies to uphold freedom, the rule of law, human rights, and space for dissent," she said, noting that authoritarian regimes are working to erode freedom.

She said Taiwan's commitment to freedom and democracy has made it a target of disinformation campaigns, economic coercion, and even military intimidation, which has raised international concern for possible conflict in the region.

"Our government is fully aware of the threats to regional security, and is actively enhancing our national defense capabilities to protect our democracy," Tsai said. "In addition, Taiwan is working with our global partners to ensure safety and stability in the region."

Tsai highlighted the importance of supply chain security as authoritarian states are looking to alter the rules-based economic order by taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In view of this, she called on the members of international community, especially the European Union (EU), to sign a bilateral investment agreement (BIA) with Taiwan.

"I believe it is time for Taiwan and the EU to restart negotiations on a BIA," she said.

"A BIA would not just help secure our supply chains, it would protect our mutual geopolitical and economic interests, and send a message about the partnerships and values on which our interests depend," she said.

The forum is being held from May 10-11 in a hybrid format, with people participating both in person and virtually.

The first day of the summit will cover authoritarianism, the rule of law, tech and democracy, freedom of expression, and U.S. leadership, while the second day will discuss election integrity, disinformation, and social media regulations.

Other speakers at the summit include Slovakia President Zuzana Čaputová, Denmark Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod, Venezuela Interim President Juan Guaidó, and Hong Kong democracy activist Nathan Law (羅冠聰), among others.

Tsai also noted in her speech that she looked forward to U.S. President Joe Biden's Summit for Democracy later this year, as well as the United Kingdom's continued leadership of the G7 to expand economic cooperation.

"It is my sincere belief that with this democratic alliance, our universal values will continue to lead us toward a better future for all humankind," she said.

(By Emerson Lim)


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