Visiting Brussels, DPP Chair Su Tseng-chang and his accompanying delegation met with Members of the European Parliament Hans van Baalen, Andrey Kovatchev, Jacek Wlosowicz, Niki Tzavela, Charles Tannock, Morten Lokkegaard, Jean-Jacob Bicep, Jose Salafranca and Henri Weber.
Below are the remarks made by Chair Su at the luncheon on January 22:
Your Excellencies, my dear friends from the European Parliament, Ambassador Tung, Good afternoon.
I am very happy that I come to Brussels today. I am very happy that I am in Brussels with Taiwan’s best friends in the European Parliament. I am very happy that I can finally come and say to you in person: I appreciate your support of Taiwan all these years.
Your support is heartfelt, and felt strongly by the people of Taiwan. Taiwan today is still having difficulties in participating in international organizations. Taiwan today is still being threatened militarily. But we know we are not alone and completely hopeless; we have friends like you who are always ready to help.
I can think of many reasons why you would support Taiwan. But there is no other reason better than the reason that Taiwan is a democracy. Yes, Taiwan is a democracy, and democracy is our value that we are ready to defend at any time and at any cost, in the same spirit we fought for the establishment of democracy some 30 years ago.
It started when martial law was still in effect. I and some other young lawyers defended the 1979 political prisoners in the court martial. It was not a smart move for any lawyer who wanted to make a good living, but we went for it anyway. We risked our lives to go for it for a passionate cause: we were disgusted by the dictatorship, disgusted by the total lack of human rights, and disgusted by the zero tolerance of dissent.
In 1986 when martial law was still in place, I and 17 other members founded the DPP. Again, it was not a smart move for anyone who wanted to make a good living, but we went for it again. We went for it because we knew it was the first step to establish democracy, and the best way to rid us of political tyranny. Step by step, martial law was lifted, emergency decree was abolished, parliamentary elections were held, and the process culminated in the presidential election in 1996. A democracy was born, and freedom and human rights were protected.
Since we elect our own president, elect our own members of the parliament, and the government exercises exclusive jurisdiction over the territories under its control, Taiwan in reality is independent now. The status quo that Taiwan is self-governed cannot be changed without the approval of the Taiwan people through democratic means.
Taiwan’s democracy is still young, and we may still have problems, especially the problems associated with the remnants of the past regime. But I think we will do just fine. We believe in the choice of the people, who will always know what is right and what is wrong for the country, and who is right and who is wrong, too. The surveys these days show that the DPP is more right than all others.
Here I would like to stress that the DPP will continue to be a political force guarding Taiwan’s freedom and democracy, defending human rights beyond our border, and serving as a beacon light of hope and strength for those who are oppressed by the communist regime on the other side of the Taiwan Strait, the regime on the wrong side of history.
Strategic dynamics in East Asia today has us worried. China has been expanding its “core interest” over disputed territories and waters. It recently announced its ADIZ to cover part of those of Taiwan, Japan and Korea in an obvious attempt to change the status quo. I really worry about the rising tension in East Asia, but I know for certain that our European friends will always be on the side of peace and democracy, not dictatorship and expansionism. We, the people of Taiwan, Japan and Korea, the East Asian democracies, know that we will not be alone in the fight to defend our value and our way of life.
Your Excellencies, my dear friends, I would like to once again express my appreciation to you for your support. We in Taiwan will treasure it forever.
Now I would like to propose a toast:
To Friendship! Cheers!
Thank you very much.