China accuses the US of making a 'mistake' by inviting Taiwan to a democracy summit

The US ‘one China’ policy acknowledges that Beijing claims Taiwan as a province but does not say it recognises the claim. Photograph: Daniel Ceng Shou-Yi/Zuma Press Wire/REX/Shutterstock

China's government has accused Joe Biden of making a "mistake" by asking Taiwan to join 109 other democratic states at a democracy summit.

Taiwan was included on Tuesday on the State Department's list of participants for next month's Summit for Democracy. Taiwan is a democratic and self-governing country, although Beijing says it is a province of China and has accused the Taiwanese government of separatism.

The inaugural gathering is viewed as a litmus test for Biden's commitment to restore the US to a position of global leadership to counter authoritarian trends led by China and Russia. Neither is included in the virtual summit, which will take place on December 9 and 10.

Zhu Fenglian, a spokesman for China's Taiwan Affairs Office, said Wednesday that Taiwan's participation was a "mistake" and that Beijing opposed "any official interaction between the US and China's Taiwan region."

"This position is unequivocal and consistent. We urge the US to adhere to the idea of 'one China' and the three joint communiques," she stated.

The US policy of 'one China' acknowledges Beijing's claim to Taiwan as a province but does not recognize it.

Since taking office, Biden and the White House have reaffirmed the US's long-standing support for its "one China" policy, which recognizes Beijing rather than Taipei, but have also stated that the US "vehemently opposes unilateral efforts to alter the status quo or undermine peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait."

China's leader, Xi Jinping, stated last week during a virtual conference with Biden that Beijing would have "no choice but to take drastic measures" if their "red lines" were broken. In August, China's state-run tabloid, the Global Times, urged against bringing Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen to the summit, arguing that the US should follow the Apec model in referring to Taiwan as "Chinese Taipei."

The editorial stated that failure to do so would constitute a "severe escalation" that Beijing would not tolerate.

According to Bonnie Glaser, director of the Asia Program of the United States' German Marshall Fund, Chinese experts had been informed that Taiwan would be invited. The primary concern was who would represent Taiwan.

"I'm not sure whether Beijing's bottom line is simply that Tsai be denied participation," Glaser said. "However, she will not be invited, which means they can tell their domestic audience that the US bowed to Chinese pressure."

The gathering will bring together democracies such as France and Sweden and countries such as the Philippines, India, and Poland, where campaigners say that democracy is threatened.

The announcement came shortly after the Stockholm-based International Institute for Democracy, and Electoral Assistance released a report in which it stated that the US had also "fallen victim to authoritarian tendencies and was knocked down a significant number of democratic steps," Bloomberg reported.

Publish : 2021-11-24 12:56:00

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