The 54th APLFD Conference

The Fifty-Fourth Conference of the Asian Pacific League for Freedom and Democracy (APLFD) was held on December 12th to 15th, 2008 at the Hilton Hotel in Guam, USA. The theme of the conference was : “Enhance Asia Pacific Prosperity and Peace”.

Some 60 delegates from fourteen countries and territory attended the conference. Countries and territory represented were : Fiji, India, Japan, South Korea, Myanmar, New Zealand, Palau, Philippines, ROC (Taiwan), Singapore, Thailand, USA, Vietnam and Guam. The United Chinese Association of Guam, represented by its President, Mr. Joseph Hsu, was an Observer at the conference.

A Joint Council & Executive Committee Meeting was held on December 12th evening. At the meeting, there were the appointment of a new APLFD Secretary General and the election of the Executive Committee

(for 2008-2011). Mr. Simon Hu of Singapore, being the chairman of the nomination committee, reported on the work and proposals of his committee before the members voted on those issues. Besides Mr. Hu,

other members of the nomination committee were: Mr. Stewart Rundle of New Zealand, Mr. Hemendra Nagin of Fiji and Mr. Tai Wan-chin of the Secretariat.

The Members unanimously appointed Mr. Liou Jieh-Jow as their new Secretary General. Mr. Liou was a National Assemblyman and an advisor to the Premier of the Republic of China (Taiwan). He is now serving a president of the Presidium of the Central Advisory Committee of the Nationalist Party (Kuomintang, KMT), the ruling party of Taiwan. Mr. Liou was with the League since 1978, serving first as its Deputy Secretary General, and later as a Senior Advisor.

Fourteen members were elected to the Executive Committee for 2008-2011. They are : Australia, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Palau, Philippines, ROC (Taiwan), Singapore, Thailand, USA and Vietnam.

In the meantime, Dr. Thomas P. Chen of the USA Chapter, was

re-elected as the Council Chairman, and Chairman of the 54th APLFD Conference. And Mr. Hemendra Nagin of Fiji was elected as the Chairman of the Joint Communique Committee. Dr. Tai Wan-chin, the Deputy Secretary General made a report on the work of the Secretariat in the past year. He noted that the League’s work will be further promoted under the leadership of Mr. Liou.

Before the meeting concluded, discussion were held on the site and

dates of the 55th APLFD Conference. It was noted that both the Australia Chapter and the Philippines Chapter were interested to host the next Conference. Yet, no conclusion was reached, passing it on to

the Secretariat for a further study.

The meeting was followed by a cocktail reception. Ms. Judith Won Pat, Speaker of the Guam Legislature, joined the party and welcomed the APLFD delegates with a short speech. Mr. Joe Ada, former Governor of Guam, was also among the Guam VIPs at the reception.

The Opening of the 54th Conference was held on December 13th morning. Senator Tina Rose Muna Barnes opened the Conference with a warm welcome to all the delegates from afar. Senator Barnes has an leading role in the Legislature, serving as the Secretary of the Guam Legislature.

Other speakers at the Opening were : Mr. Carlos Flavian, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Delegates of Palau; and Mr. Vince Tsai, Director General of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Guam.

The message of H.E. Ma Ying-jeou, President of the Republic of China (Taiwan) was read at the Opening. In his message, President Ma noted that prosperity is the goalkeeper of peace. Without prosperity, peace

could not be maintained; and without peace, prosperity would not be possible; said President Ma.

President Ma said that the Republic of China (Taiwan) is always committed to fulfill its international responsibility as a member of the Asia Pacific community. He point out that the recent positive Taiwan-Mainland China relationship development has already created a peaceful climate in the region.

President Ma added that as a founding member of the APLFD, the Republic of China is proud of the many admiring achievements that the League has fulfilled thought its 54 years history in the pursuit of

freedom and democracy.

Two workshops were held following the Opening. Workshop One, focused on Guam and Asia Pacific, was chaired by Dr. Thomas P. Chen, chairman of the APLFD Council. Speakers were : Dr. Robert Underwood, President of the University of Guam; and Mr. Gerald Perez, General Manager of the Guam Visitors Bureau.

Workshop Two, focused on the regional developments, was chaired by Mr. Simon Hu of Singapore. Speakers were : Mr. Rama Swarup of India, and Dr. David Puathasnanon of Thailand. Mr. Rama reported on the developments in South Asia, while Dr. Puathasnanon gave a clearer picture on the recent political situation in Thailand.

Three plenary meetings were held during the conference. General Guillermo Peache of the Philippines delivered his presentation on the situation in Southeast Asia at the First Plenary Meeting. Reports of Chapters were presented at the Second Plenary Meeting. The Joint Communique of the Conference was presented, discussed and adopted at the Third Plenary Meeting.

The Joint Communique Committee, chaired by Mr. Hemandra Nagin of Fiji, was composed with other four members including: Mr. Stewart Rundle of New Zealand, Mr. David Puathasnanon of Thailand, Mr. Rama Swarup of India and Mr. Truong Quang Si of Vietnam.

The Joint Communique , among other points, noted that :

---The Conference supports the call made by the Commonwealth, the European Union and the South Pacific Forum, that Fiji be returned to Parliamentary democracy as soon as possible.

---The victory of H.E. Ma Ying-jeou in the Presidential election, confirms that democracy is alive and well in Taiwan.

---The APLFD supports moves for national reconciliation, socio-economic development and full democratic election in Myanmar in 2010.

---The APLFD strongly condemns the terrorist attack in Mumbai, India, by the Islamic extremists.

---The APLFD views with concern the active potential disputes over borders and EEZ in South East Asia and Western Pacific and urges that such disputes be settled by non-violent means.

---The APLFD congratulates Mr. Barak Obama on his magnificent election victory in the US. The APLFD is encouraged by Mr. Obama’s resolve to end terrorism.

---The APLFD fully supports the policy of the new South Korean Government towards North Korea aimed at halting the making of nuclear weapons by North Korea and for it to continue communication with south Korea and returning to the Six Party dialogue.

---Great concern is expressed at the global financial crisis. The League hopes that through global cooperation and goodwill that the world will be able to return to grater economic stability.