Winston Peters urges cooperation for peace

NZ First Party

The following story is an article posted to www.taipeitimes.com on October 7th 2022.


Former New Zealand deputy prime minister Winston Peters in Taipei yesterday called for cooperation between like-minded partners for a peaceful future.

Peters, who is in Taipei to attend the Yushan Forum, was delivering remarks on behalf of a group of former and incumbent government officials from the Indo-Pacific region invited to speak at the forum, which is to be held today and tomorrow.

“We wish to enhance our economic engagement with your country to the mutual benefit of our nations and yours,” Peters said during a meeting with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文).

“We all know that with genuine cooperation and courage, we can go forward into the future working together,” he added.

A better and safer future for the world is possible when like-minded people come together and make a real commitment to collaborate and show mutual support, despite cultural differences and different backgrounds, Peters said.

Tsai said she looked forward to exchanging views with democratic partners at the forum to “map out the direction of future development and cooperation.”

“Taiwan is on the front line in defending democracy,” Tsai said.

The nation continues to seek cooperation with like-minded countries “to advance peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region, and ensure our democratic and free way of life,” she added.

The sixth edition of the Yushan Forum is to feature speeches and panel discussions by former government officials, academics, business leaders and representatives of civil society groups from 12 countries, said the Taiwan-Asia Exchange Foundation, which is organizing the event.

Also attending the forum are Palauan President Surangel Whipps Jr; Rose Gottemoeller, a former NATO deputy secretary-general and former US undersecretary of state for arms control and international security; former Japanese prime minister and Liberal Democratic Party leader Taro Aso; Peter MacKay, a former Canadian foreign and defense minister; and Indian lawmaker Sujeet Kumar.

Participants are to engage in discussions on issues related to the recovery and development of the Indo-Pacific region in the post-COVID-19 pandemic era.

In related news, three visiting lawmakers from the German-Taiwan Parliamentary Friendship Group called for closer ties with Taiwan.

German lawmaker Frank Schaffler of the Free Democratic Party called for talks to explore the possibility of a free-trade agreement with Taiwan.

Lawmaker Katrin Budde of the German Social Democratic Party, who is also on the Bundestag’s Committee on Cultural Affairs and Media, said that their conversations with public and private-sector representatives in Taiwan had been fruitful.

Budde called for more exchanges between Taiwan and Germany on issues such as culture and transitional justice.

Responding to protests from Beijing over the German lawmakers’ visit, Budde said no country had the right to dictate where she traveled.

Till Steffen of Germany’s Alliance 90/The Greens said he had learned about some of the challenges shared by Taiwan and Germany, including energy policy and nuclear power.

With Germany’s deep reliance on Russian natural gas having been brought into sharp focus by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Steffen said Germany has learned the hard way that energy could be weaponized.

“Democracies must support each other, because authoritarian regimes cooperate, too, as we have seen between Beijing and Moscow,” Steffen said.

Steffen, Budde and Schaffler were joined in Taipei by three other lawmakers from the friendship group.

Klaus-Peter Willsch, chair of the group and leader of the delegation, said the delegation comprises lawmakers from six political parties.

The delegation was scheduled to depart Taiwan yesterday.

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