Biden’s democracy summit: What it aims to achieve and why China isn’t invited

While Taiwan is invited for the summit, China isn’t — a move likely to irk Beijing.

Representational Image. News18

US president Joe Biden has called for a virtual summit of around 110 countries in December this year to discuss democracy but not everyone stands invited. While the US has invited several Western allies and even India, China has been left out of the guest list.

The Summit for Democracy will be held on 9 and 10 December and it is likely that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will participate in it.

What the summit aims to achieve

According to a website of the White House in the US, the summit aims to discuss the several threats democracies across the world are facing and address these with “collective action”.

“The summit will focus on challenges and opportunities facing democracies and will provide a platform for leaders to announce both individual and collective commitments, reforms, and initiatives to defend democracy and human rights at home and abroad,” the White House said.

During the summit, participating leaders will also be encouraged to announce meaningful steps that will help move towards the goals of strengthening democracy across the world.

Who is invited?

A list shared by the US state department showed that the US has invited its western allies and other countries like India, Pakistan, Iraq, South Korea, Maldives and Indonesia.

While Taiwan is among the list of the countries that will participate, China isn’t. Traditional Arab allies of the US — Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, are not invited.

The fact that Taiwan is invited and China isn’t is a move that risks angering the country.

Why isn’t China invited?

The United States and China have not seen eye to eye on several things and the US has made efforts to curb China’s growing influence in south-east Asia. Even during a meet between Biden and his counterpart Xi Jinping recently, the two countries locked horns over Taiwan.

Chinese state media reported that Biden was cautioned by Xi that getting involved with Taiwan would be like “playing with fire”. Xinhua news agency quoted Xi as saying, “Some people in the US intend to ‘use Taiwan to control China.’ This trend is very dangerous and is like playing with fire, and those who play with fire will get burned.”

Not just Taiwan, China criticised the Quad summit held by Biden in September this year, in which India was also a participant. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian had told a media briefing that cooperation between the countries should not target third parties.

“It is China”s consistent belief that any regional cooperation mechanism should follow the trend of peace and development, and help promote mutual trust and cooperation among regional countries rather than target a third party or undermine its interests,” Zhao had said.

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