Dispute over democracy summit: China and Russia accuse USA of division

Dispute over democracy summit
China and Russia accuse USA of division

Washington is inviting more than 100 countries to an upcoming democracy summit. China and Russia are not there and are angry. The atmosphere is tense. In Taiwan, on the other hand, there is joy.

China and Russia have reacted critically to the democracy summit planned by US President Joe Biden. A spokesman for the Beijing Foreign Ministry “strongly” opposed Taiwan’s invitation to the online meeting in early December – to which China itself was not invited. The Kremlin, which was also bypassed, accused Biden of wanting to “split” the world community. A total of 110 countries are invited.

The list of invitations published by the US State Department on Tuesday includes the US’s most important Western allies – but also Iraq, India and Pakistan. NATO member Turkey and EU member Hungary are not on the list. Poland, on the other hand, which the EU believes has a problem with the rule of law, is invited.

“Privatization of the Concept of Democracy”

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov criticized Washington’s approach: “The US prefers to create new dividing lines and to divide the countries into what they think are good and what they think are bad countries.” Washington is trying to “privatize” the concept of democracy. However, “more and more countries” would prefer to “decide for themselves how they want to live without looking back on anyone”.

The fact that Taiwan was invited to the summit is a provocation of US rival China, which wants to isolate the island internationally. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian reiterated on Wednesday that, from Beijing’s point of view, Taiwan is “an inalienable part of Chinese territory”. The government in Beijing regards the island as a breakaway province which, if necessary, should be reunited with the mainland by military force.

Taiwan’s invitation is unexpected

In Taipei, however, the invitation sparked great joy. “This summit will allow Taiwan to share its democratic success story,” said Taiwanese President’s Office spokesman Xavier Chang. The State Department said it would be represented at the summit by its de facto ambassador to the US, Bi-khim Hsiao, and the Minister for Digital, Audrey Tang. Tang is one of the few openly transgender politicians in the world.

The invitation is also exceptional because Washington does not recognize Taiwan as an independent state. However, in the face of increasing military threats from Beijing, Washington has demonstratively backed the government in Taipei.

The global conference was a campaign promise made by the US president, who placed the struggle between democracies and “autocratic governments” at the center of his foreign policy. The fight against corruption and the promotion of human rights are on the agenda. The “Summit for Democracy” will take place online on December 9th and 10th before it is due to be physically held for its second edition next year.

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