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April 25, 2017

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UN committee chair visits Taipei for summit

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The 2017 Forum on Freedom and Democracy in Taipei will welcome high-level representatives from the United Nation's Department of Public Information Monday to celebrate and witness the R.O.C.'s achievements in becoming one of the leading democratic countries in the world, according to organizers.

Organized by the World League for Freedom and Democracy (WLFD, 世界自由民主聯盟), the forum will be held at the Grand Hotel in Taipei.

As many as 44 foreign representatives from over 15 countries are expected at the forum, including India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Germany, the U.K., Canada, Mexico and Malta.

Among them, the most highly anticipated are the team of six representatives from the U.N., led by Bruce Knotts, the executive committee representative and director of the Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office.

This year's forum focuses on the values of democracy and the rule of law, with two subtopics arranged in the morning and the afternoon.

In the morning, the panel will discuss the challenges faced by — and the future of — democracy, while in the afternoon, the topic will be President Tsai Ing-wen's New Southbound Policy and the democratic development of the Asia Pacific region.

Experts, government officials, senators and politicians from Taiwan and across the globe are invited to take part in the seminars, including: Daniel Mitov, the former minister of foreign affairs of Bulgaria; Neno Dimov, the former deputy minister of the Environmental Ministry of Bulgaria and incumbent president of the WLFD's Bulgarian chapter; and Vladimir Marinković, deputy speaker of the Serbian National Assembly.

Top Liberal Country

According to the President of the WLFD R.O.C. Chapter Tseng Yung-chuan (曾永權), who previously served as the secretary-general for former President Ma Ying-jeou, Taiwan scored 91 points in American NGO Freedom House's report on the freedom in the world released in January.

The U.S. scored 89, while France received 90 points, Tseng said, reiterating that Taiwan has become one of the countries with the highest degree of freedom on the planet.

Tseng also said that the WLFD supported the ruling party's initiative to invest in Southeast Asian countries, saying that the organization hopes that the comments and suggestions collected at next week's forum would help the government build stronger ties with these countries.

"The freedom and democracy Taiwan has achieved have become a way of life for the Taiwanese people and that is unchangeable," Tseng said, "it is also the R.O.C.'s most valuable resource for strengthening diplomatic relationships in the global village, and more importantly, it is a model for mainland China to develop democracy."

The WLFD established the Institute for Democracy last year, providing online courses and reviews for all activities held by the organization. In the future, the organization seeks to collaborate with the Ministry of Education and local governments to open lessons in cities nationwide, in an effort to educate the younger generation on the importance of democracy and freedom, Tseng said.

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