Summit for democracy: Joe Biden invites Taiwan, Beijing takes offense

The plan of the American president to unite 110 countries in virtual summit for the democracy, in December, of which Taiwan, made react China which opposes it “firmly”. Beijing says Taiwan is “an integral part of China”.

Beijing announced Wednesday, November 24, its “firm opposition” to Taiwan’s invitation to the virtual summit for democracy by US President Joe Biden, which will bring together some 110 countries in December, but not China. The Asian giant considers Taiwan as one of its provinces although it does not control the island of 23 million inhabitants.

In recent weeks, the passes of arms have multiplied between Beijing and Washington on the fate of the territory , which enjoys a democratic system and has its own government, currency and army.

In a clear message to China, Joe Biden invited some 110 countries and territories to his virtual democracy summit in December, including Western allies of the United States. On the other hand, Washington’s main rivals, including Moscow and Beijing, are not included.

The American president has not hidden it since his arrival at the White House in January: the fight between democracies and “autocracies”, embodied in his eyes by China and Russia, is at the heart of his foreign policy.

Taiwan set up as a democratic example

The “summit for democracy”, a campaign pledge the first version of which will take place online on December 9 and 10 before a face-to-face meeting a year later, is one of the cornerstones of this priority.

The guest list was posted on the US State Department website on Tuesday. President Biden invited Taiwan, which the United States does not recognize as an independent country but readily sets up a democratic model against China.

Unsurprisingly, Beijing “strongly condemned” this decision on Wednesday. “Taiwan has no other status in international law than that of an integral part of China,” a spokesman for Chinese diplomacy, Zhao Lijian, told reporters.

Almost at the same time, the authorities of the island at the heart of the Beijing-Washington rivalry thanked the American president for his decision to invite Taiwan. “Thanks to this summit, Taiwan will be able to share its experience of democratic success,” Xavier Chang, spokesperson for the presidency’s office, told reporters.

India, Brazil, Poland also invited

India, often described as “the largest democracy in the world”, will be present despite frequent criticism from human rights defenders against its Prime Minister, Narendra Modi. So is Pakistan, despite a checkered relationship with Washington.

Turkey, Washington’s ally within NATO but whose President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has in the past been described as an “autocrat” by Joe Biden, is not among the participating countries either.

In the Middle East, only Israel and Iraq were invited. The traditional Arab allies of the Americans, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, are absent.

Joe Biden also invited Brazil, which is led by controversial far-right president Jair Bolsonaro.

In Europe, Poland is represented, despite recurring tensions with Brussels over respect for the rule of law, but the Hungary of Prime Minister Viktor Orban is not.

On the African side, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, South Africa, Nigeria and Niger are among the invited countries.

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