Beijing on Wednesday expressed its “firm opposition” to the invitation to Taiwan by US President Joe Biden to a virtual summit for democracy, in which more than a hundred countries participated in December, but not China itself.
The Asian giant considers the independent island as one of its provinces, although it does not control this island of 23 million inhabitants.
Taiwan thanked Biden for the invitation on Wednesday, which allows him to show off his democratic credentials internationally.
“With this summit, Taiwan can share your democratic success story“Said the spokesman for the island’s presidency, Xavier Chang, it’s a statement.
Nevertheless, China reacted immediately and showed its “firm opposition to this US invitation to the Taiwanese authorities.”the Foreign Ministry spokesman told reporters, Zhao Lijian, who stressed that Taiwan is “An inalienable part of the Chinese territory”.
Taiwan, an island governed democratically and claimed by Beijing, is the focus of major tensions between the two great world powers, the United States and China.
Russia, for its part, also criticized the US initiative, accusing it of sowing division.
“The United States prefers to create new lines of division, dividing countries into good, according to its opinion, and bad, according to its opinion”declared the Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov.
Many of the participants in this virtual summit are Washington allies. They include Iraq, India and Pakistanaccording to the list released Tuesday by the State Department.
Turkey, an ally of Washington in NATO, does not appear among the participating countries, nor does Russia.
Most Latin American countries are among the guests, with the exception of Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Bolivia.
Biden seems to have made this clear since his arrival at the White House last January: His foreign policy is based on the opposition between democracies and “autocracies”, which, according to him, embody China and Russia among others..
The US president has invited instead Brazil, led by far-right Jair Bolsonaro
From the Middle East, only Israel and Iraq were invited to this meeting online hosted by Biden on December 9-10. Traditional Arab allies of the United States such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar or the United Arab Emirates are not invited.
In Europe, Poland is represented, despite recurring tensions with Brussels over respect for the rule of law, although Hungary, led by controversial Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, is not on the list of the State Department.
As for Africa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, South Africa, Nigeria and Niger are among the guests.
The “Summit for Democracy” was one of Biden’s priorities, as well as one of his campaign promises.
“For a first summit (…) there are good reasons to have a wide range of actors present: this allows a better exchange of ideas,” Laleh Ispahani, of the Open Society Foundations, told the AFP news agency prior to the publication of the list.
According to Ispahani, rather than holding an anti-China meeting, a country that he describes as a “lost opportunity,” Biden should take advantage of these meetings, which will also bring together civil society leaders, to “Attack the crisis that represents the serious decline of democracy around the world, even for relatively solid models like the United States”.
This summit was organized in light of the numerous setbacks that democracy has suffered in recent months in countries where the United States had high hopes.
Among them Sudan and Myanmar, scenarios of military coups; Ethiopia, caught in a conflict at risk of “imploding”, according to Washington; as well as Afghanistan, where the Taliban seized power after the United States left the country after 20 years of democratization efforts.
(With information from AFP)