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President Tsai meets US National Endowment for Democracy President Wilson
President Tsai meets US National Endowment for Democracy President Wilson

On the morning of March 29, President Tsai Ing-wen met with National Endowment for Democracy (NED) President Damon Wilson. In remarks at the meeting, President Tsai expressed optimism that the 11th Global Assembly of the World Movement for Democracy, to be cohosted by the NED and the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy this October, will continue to advance cooperation and solidarity among democracies and further strengthen global democratic development. 

A translation of President Tsai's remarks follows:

I would like to warmly welcome NED President Wilson on his first visit to our country. The NED has an enduring and profound relationship with Taiwan, and has long supported Taiwan's democratic development. Mr. Wilson, since you took up the post of NED President last July, you have devoted much effort to strengthening cooperation with Taiwan's civil society. And now, you have made Taiwan the opening stop on your first trip to Asia as NED president. This shows how much you value Taiwan's democracy. We are very grateful for your commitment to working with us.

Global democratic development is currently being challenged by the expansion of authoritarianism. However, since the Ukraine crisis erupted, we have seen many democratic nations unite in condemning Russia's invasion and implementing sanctions. People around the world have also shown their support and provided assistance to those affected in Ukraine.

Taiwan's first batch of humanitarian aid for Ukrainian refugees has already arrived in Poland. As of yesterday, the Taiwanese public had donated more than NT$890 million for Ukraine. The people of Taiwan empathize with the Ukrainians' determination to safeguard democracy and freedom. We have united through action to extend our support.

The Taiwanese admire how Ukraine's Territorial Defense Forces are playing an important role in protecting their nation through a whole-of-society approach. President Wilson, I understand that you not only work with Ukrainian civil groups, but also territorial defense groups in Sweden and Finland. This kind of cooperation is very meaningful. Taiwan hopes to have an opportunity to be part of related exchanges so that we can learn from others' experience. This will help us further mobilize an all-out defense and enhance resilience across all facets of society.

Russia's invasion of Ukraine has once again highlighted the importance of democracies coming together to take a stand against authoritarianism. The Summit for Democracy held by the United States at the end of last year was an important event, doing much to promote the development of democracy in countries around the world. Taiwan was pleased to participate in the summit. We set out an extensive list of concrete commitments designed to further strengthen our democracy, including the promotion of open government initiatives and countermeasures against disinformation. These commitments demonstrate our staunch determination and willingness to advocate democracy alongside global partners.

Authoritarian nations are currently spreading disinformation and using cognitive warfare in an attempt to manipulate democratic nations. Taiwan has rich experience in combating disinformation. We look forward to sharing our experience with the NED so that we can jointly bolster democratic resilience.

This October, the NED and the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy will cohost the 11th Global Assembly of the World Movement for Democracy here in Taiwan. We have high expectations that this event will continue to advance cooperation and solidarity among democracies, and thus lend even further strength to global democratic development.

NED President Wilson then delivered remarks, a transcript of which follows:

Thank you, President Tsai. I'm a Taiwanese [in Mandarin and Taiwanese]. 

I want to thank you. I want to thank the people of Taiwan for their hospitality and their extraordinary warm welcome to me and my delegation. But I want to thank you for your principled leadership, first and foremost.

The vibrancy of democracy here in Taiwan is an example to the world. But it also demonstrates – you have demonstrated – international democratic solidarity, from Lithuania to Ukraine, from the Afghan people to the people of Hong Kong. 

This is the first stop on my first trip to Asia as president of the National Endowment for Democracy. And it's intentional to underscore that we stand with Taiwan. We are committed to safeguarding Taiwan's democracy, and to working with Taiwan to safeguard democracy around the world. 

The quality of Taiwan's democracy is its national security. We see the democratic resilience that you have created with an engaged population committed to its democracy.

The National Endowment for Democracy is America's foundation for freedom, and, after all, we're here to underscore a sense of solidarity and partnership with the American people. And we're here to build that partnership with our colleagues at the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy, President Huang [Yu-Lin] (黃玉霖), as we joined together to organize the Global Assembly of the World Movement for Democracy here in Taipei in October. 

The assembly will gather democratic leaders and activists from around the world at what is a consequential moment for freedom. As President Biden just said in his speech in Warsaw, this is the task of our time. 

And Taiwan is stepping up to play host. Taiwan will be at the center of a global agenda for freedom as part of integrating Taiwanese perspectives into the world, ensuring that Taiwan is a hub for democrats, not only to learn from each other, but to learn about Taiwan's democracy and become champions of your freedom. 

So we're honored to be here for conversations, Madam President, to be inspired by the words above us that President Huang explained to me about openness, humility, fairness, and calm. [With] the inspiration of your leadership, I look forward to our conversations. And we thank the Taiwanese people for their solidarity and their partnership.

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