The international summit about freedom and democracy being held this month in Washington and Philadelphia by the Obama administration will host one of its participants this week.
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen will give a talk on Wednesday about how democracy can help make the world “a more open and safe place,” according to her office.
This year’s international summit is being staged by the National Endowment for Democracy, a funder of local non-governmental organizations. It will host 25 meetings between officials from various countries, including the U.S., as well as special guests.
Among those visiting Washington for the “Summit for Democracy” is Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, whose government is battling a growing drug trade and social discontent. Such ongoing unrest has led to the cancellation of several Mexican government visits to the United States this year.
The NEI’s chairman, Alberto Fernandez, last year warned that democracy backsliding in some countries is making the world more dangerous.
“Those that cling to autocracy and authoritarianism are endangering the regional and global economic security and economic dynamism of our countries and ourselves,” Fernandez said.
Some critics of the Beijing government maintain that democracy is one of the most vulnerable branches of a government — that may become dysfunctional under China’s authoritarian rule.
American foreign policy experts from this country’s defense and civil society organizations are encouraged about the values being promoted at the NEI’s Summit.
“Regional security and prosperity are threatened by the dangers of violent extremism, repressive regimes, and regional rivals,” says the acting director of the U.S. Institute of Peace, Kevin Gover.
The organization has often highlighted the importance of democracy and freedom in improving regional security, he said.
“Though we have many concerns with China, we believe the United States must continue to support the principles and values that help promote and strengthen freedom and democracy,” Gover said.
The NEI said there is a need to use these discussions about international freedom and democracy to complement work being done in Asia.
It comes as China continues its efforts to consolidate power. It hopes to win the support of its own countries and that of other nations. However, the U.S. and Taiwan have long opposed Beijing’s rise as a diplomatic superpower in the Asia-Pacific.
Critics have said that using the NEI summit as a stage to put Taiwan on an equal footing with the United States is a waste of money. However, many Americans have turned to Taiwan as a refuge.
It has diplomatic relations with more than 70 countries, including the United States.
One of the centerpieces of the NEI’s latest effort to highlight Taiwan is the Taiwan Pavilion at the Washington Ideas Forum to be held June 15-17.