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Sunday, August 15, 2004

Taiwan News.Com Taiwan seeks to be catalyst in the region,Chen reveals

2004-08-14 / Taiwan News, Staff Reporter / By Wang Chung-ming
By advocating the diplomacy of soft power among its democratic allies in the Pacific Rim, Taiwan hopes to act as a catalyst in the development of an alliance of shared values of security, freedom, democracy and human rights , as well as a security mechanism aimed at preventing conflicts in the region, President Chen Shui-bian (³¯¤ô«ó) said yesterday.
Expressing his wish for the early advent of the Democratic Pacific Union, Chen said, in a written message to the opening of the DPU's second annual assembly, that the DPU will provide a platform for dialogue and a mechanism for cooperation among democracies in the Pacific Rim area.
Chen welcomed the participation of foreign political leaders and dignitaries in the assembly, saying that he will "help strengthen exchanges and interactions among Pacific democratic countries, paving the way for creating a new Pacific civilization in the 21st century."
Citing the "Taiwan Experience, Soft Miracle" concept, Chen said the Action for the Democratic Pacific Union and the DPU's Coordination Office - both brainchildren of Vice President Annette Lu (§f¨q½¬) - have been pushing heavily since 2003 for the establishment of the DPU.
Lu, who is hosting the 2004 Democratic Pacific Assembly, reinforced the idea of soft power, and highlighted areas of common experience and concern among the countries of the Pacific Rim.
The Assembly's agenda lists five themes: "Prospects and Practices of Democracy," "Security and Human Security," "Sustainable Development of the Pacific," "The Industrial, Economic and Technology Development of the Pacific," and "The E-Pacific."
Chen that Taiwan, as a maritime country, crossing the oceans and reaching out to the world have been the prime moving forces behind its democratization and economic expansion.
The president said he is proud to see that Taiwan is today a full-fledged democracy and an economic powerhouse in the Pacific Rim area.
"Today's Taiwan is fully capable of playing a role as an 'integrator' in the Asia-Pacific region whether from the political, economic or strategic points of view," Chen said, adding that it is Taiwan's responsibility to contribute its wisdom, abilities and resources to help build a framework of stability in the region.
It is believed that the DPU will be formally established before long with Taiwan's enthusiasm and determination in participating in activities in the international community, Chen concluded.
Meanwhile, at a welcome party yesterday, Lu said that the Pacific Ocean civilization - which encompasses,humanism, science and technology - should move into a new century, honoring democracy, peace and prosperity.
Mindful of past wars and economic depression, the region by means of soft power should pursue a sustainable way of life that promotes love, peace, cooperation and instead of hatred and war, Lu said.
"Asia has not been capable, in line with the trend of globalization, of opening the door of regional integration because there remains 15 of the 39 Asian countries that are not democratic and there are four Communist regimes - China, North Korea, Vietnam and Cambodia - in this region," Lu said.
"We must establish a cooperative mechanism by uniting all democracies in the Pacific Rim to create a new vision to lead this region into developing a wonderful ocean civilization," she added.
The 2004 Democratic Pacific Assembly, the second of its kind since 2003, is being held from August 13 to 15 at the Grand Hotel in Taipei.
Some 100 political leaders, scholars and dignitaries from 24 countries, including Salvadoran President Antonio Saca, are taking part in the assembly, which began with discussion seminars on the first day.
Benjamin Gilman, former Chairman of U.S. House of Representatives' International Relations Committee, is scheduled, along with Lu, to chair the roundtable discussion on the DPU's development, on Sunday.

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