With civil society becoming the norm globally, the model for foreign relations, confined only to the sovereignty of countries since the Treaties of Westphali of 1648, has been under great impact. As a result, non-government organizations (NGO) and non-profit organizations (NPO) have begun to play essential roles. Global governance has developed under this concept, and has become the most suitable theory and foundation for scrutinizing multinational organizations. This is also a great opportunity for Taiwan to create new possibilities under the current conditions and to employ liberty and human rights as a platform to converse and cooperate with countries and political parties that hold these values to be significant.
Liberal International (LI) was founded in 1947. Its members include seventy-nine political parties from sixty-seven countries around the world and also nine cooperating organizations. LI is committed to pursuing liberalism and endeavors to promote the value of liberty throughout the world, to strengthen personal freedom, responsibility and social justice to achieve the development of a free society. At the same time, LI operates through the Congress, the Executive Committee, and its Bureau to direct regular conferences and activities to provide a platform for its members for conducting substantial exchange and conversation. Through discussion among its members, it aims at building a shared political stance to influence the political attitudes of respective countries and also the world.
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) was founded in 1986. In terms of pursuing national sovereignty and expanding foreign relations, the DPP bears the burdens of conservatism from within the country and the lack of resources as facilitation. As a result, the expansion of foreign relations has been extremely difficult. The German Friedrich Naumann Foundation visited the DPP in 1992, and the DPP began its cooperation with Liberal International via the Friedrich Naumann Foundation. This was substantially beneficial for the DPP in terms of implementing “political party diplomacy.” After obtaining qualification as observing member in 1994, the DPP officially became a member of Liberal International in 2002. Furthermore, the DPP has become the ruling party of Taiwan in 2000, and made use of its membership to aid the Taiwanese government in foreign relations and in expanding bilateral links with Europe. At the same time, the DPP joined the Bureau of LI to reinforce the significance in being its member.
The Taiwan Strait Crisis of 1995-1996, the transition of the administrative power of 2000 and the Liberal International awarding President Chen Shui-bian in 2001 are incidents promoted by the Democratic Progressive Party, the Liberal International, and the liberal parties of the European Congress and congressman who are friendly to Taiwan. These contributions have projected Taiwan voice in the international society and also reinforced the image of Taiwan as a country that is democratic and values the importance of liberty and human rights. At the same time, it is a manifestation of the interaction between the DPP and European political parties.