Washington: US President Joe Biden has invited around 110 countries to a virtual summit for democracy on December 9-10, but China is not included in the list. Taiwan is also invited, but the name of NATO member Turkey is missing, according to list released by the State Department on Tuesday.
The final list also leaves out Russia, while in the South Asia region Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka have been excluded, according to a list posted on the State Department website on Tuesday. The list includes major Western allies of the United States, apart from India, Pakistan and Iraq.
The Biden administration has invited Taiwan to its "Summit for Democracy" next month, according to a list of participants published on Tuesday. The move is likely to infuriate China, which views the democratically governed island as its territory. The first-of-its-kind gathering is a test of President Joe Biden`s assertion, announced in his first foreign policy address in office in February, that he would return the United States to global leadership to face down authoritarian forces led by China and Russia, said a Reuters report.
The invite for Taiwan comes as China has stepped up pressure on countries to downgrade or sever relations with the island, which is considered by Beijing to have no right to the trappings of a state, said the report. Self-ruling Taiwan says Beijing has no right to speak for it. Sharp differences over Taiwan persisted during a virtual meeting earlier this month between Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
While Biden reiterated longstanding US support for the "One China" policy under which it officially recognizes Beijing rather than Taipei, he also said he "strongly opposes unilateral efforts to change the status quo or undermine peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait," the White House said.
Xi said that those in Taiwan who seek independence, and their supporters in the United States, were "playing with fire," according to state news agency Xinhua. There are 110 participants on the State Department`s invitation list for the virtual event, which aims to help stop democratic backsliding and the erosion of rights and freedoms worldwide.
In Asia, some US allies such as Japan and South Korea were invited, while others like Thailand and Vietnam were not. Representation from the Middle East will be slim, with Israel and Iraq the only two countries invited.