US President Biden’s administration has invited Taiwan to join the “Summit for Democracy” next month, according to a list of participating countries released on Tuesday. This move angered China. The Beijing government has long considered the democratic island of Taiwan to be Chinese territory.
It will be the first democracy summit and test of the assertion that President Joe Biden made in his first foreign policy speech in February. At the time, he emphasized that it would put the United States back in a global leadership position in the face of autocratic powers led by China and Russia.
On the guest list of the US State Department, there are 110 countries participating in the event, which will take place online on December 9 and 10, with the goal of preventing democracy from being retrogressed and freedoms being under decline worldwide. The list does not contain Chinese and Russian names.
Taiwan’s foreign ministry said the island’s government would be represented by Digital Minister Audrey Tang, and Hsiao Bi-khim, who is essentially Taiwan’s ambassador to Washington.
Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs added: “The fact that our country was invited to participate in the Democracy Summit is an affirmation of Taiwan’s efforts to promote democratic values and human rights over the years.”
China’s foreign ministry said it “resolutely opposes” the invitation.
“The actions of the United States only further show that democracy is just a cover and a tool for it to advance its geopolitical goals, oppress other countries, divide the world, and serve its own interests,” spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters in Beijing.
Taiwan – with its self-governing government – argues that Beijing has no right to speak on this.
The US State Department listing shows the event will bring together established democracies like France and Sweden, as well as countries like the Philippines, India, and Poland, where activists say democracy is under threat.
In Asia, some US allies such as Japan and South Korea are invited, while others such as Thailand and Vietnam are not. Other notable absentees are Egypt, a US ally, and NATO member Turkey. Representation of the Middle East is meager, with Israel and Iraq being the only two countries invited.