Home Pakistan China US invites Taiwan to Democracy summit, angering China; India, Pakistan among participants – Times of India

US invites Taiwan to Democracy summit, angering China; India, Pakistan among participants – Times of India

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WASHINGTON: Ties between the United States and China has hit another low after the Biden White House invited Taiwan to a virtual summit of democracies on December 9 and 10, causing Beijing to blow a gasket and warn that Washington is “playing with fire.”
With ties already tense and tetchy over multiple disputes and differences between Washington and Beijing, Taiwan, which China considers a renegade province that has to be reunited with mainland China, is emerging as a new global flashpoint. Amid apprehensions of a Chinese invasion of Taiwan and a forced accession, President Biden had pledged US defense of the island despite re-affirming a one-China policy.
On Monday, the US State Department crossed what China regards as another red line, unveiling a list of 110 participants that included Taiwan and excluded China, and also Russia and Turkey. India and Pakistan are among the invitees, along with major European democracies, but Washington’s Gulf allies like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and UAE don’t make the cut.
“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 US flyer on the summit said.
The state department said leaders participating in the summit will be encouraged to announce specific actions and commitments to meaningful internal reforms and international initiatives that advance the summit’s goals. These pledges will include “domestic and international initiatives that counter authoritarianism, combat corruption, and promote respect for human rights.”
Taiwan, which has close economic ties with the mainland despite tensions, is reported to have committed only a low-level representation for the virtual summit, with only its Digital Minister Audrey Tang and de facto ambassador in Washington, Hsiao Bi-khim, participating.
Still, the US outreach to Taiwan is seen by Beijing as another provocation, with Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian likening it to “playing with fire.” Chinese analysts and media outlets have repeatedly warned of unspecified consequences as Washington continues to take a more assertive stand against Beijing in the Indo-Pacific region, including pledging to shore up Taiwan’s defenses.
The upcoming summit is the first of two such conclaves announced by the US. The second one, expected to be held late next year, is likely to be an in-person event in Washington.

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