Thailand’s neutrality ensures exclusion from US Summit for Democracy

Picture courtesy of Aljazeera.

It appears Thailand’s nonpartisan stance toward China and Russia ensured their exclusion from the United States’ Summit for Democracy meeting yesterday.

Thailand pledged to remain neutral in regard to the Russia-Ukraine conflict last year and also refused to get drawn into the US’ latest warmongering plans against China ensuring the kingdom’s absence. Just like in 2021, only the Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia took part in the virtual meeting from the Southeast Asian states.

The summit focused on strengthening democracy, countering authoritarianism, fighting corruption, and promoting respect for human rights, which is ironic given how US foreign policy subverts all three themes.

President Biden announced US$690 million in new funding for democracy programs across the world, addressing other world leaders virtually and stating that strengthening democracy is the “defining challenge of our age.” He claimed that democracies are getting stronger while autocracies are getting weaker, citing the unity shown against Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, reported Aljazeera.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the summit, despite recent US criticism of his plan to overhaul Israel’s judiciary, which some say would weaken democratic rule in the country. Major human rights organizations have also accused Israel of imposing apartheid on Palestinians living in occupied territories under Israeli government control without basic civil rights.

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi also spoke at the event, less than a week after leading opposition figure Rahul Gandhi was expelled from the country’s parliament. Gandhi was stripped of his parliamentary seat after being convicted of defamation in Modi’s home state of Gujarat for a 2019 campaign trail remark seen as an insult to the prime minister.

The summit consists of a series of in-person and virtual engagements co-hosted by Costa Rica, the Netherlands, South Korea, and Zambia, involving 120 countries, including Taiwan. However, NATO allies Turkey and Hungary were not invited.

A senior Biden administration official stated that the event aims to focus on strengthening democratic resilience, promoting respect for human rights, and advancing the fight against corruption. Biden also highlighted his priority of ensuring that technology is used to advance, not undermine, democratic rule, and restricting the use of commercial spyware by government agencies. The US president emphasized that US taxpayer dollars should not support companies willing to sell their products to abate human rights violations.

China criticized the “Summit for Democracy,” which was not extended to Beijing due to its single-party rule. China called on Washington to stop meddling in the internal affairs of other countries under the guise of promoting democracy.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said…

“Despite the many problems at home, the US is hosting another Summit for Democracy in the name of promoting democracy, an event that blatantly draws an ideological line between countries and creates division in the world.

“The act violates the spirit of democracy and further reveals the US’s pursuit of primacy behind the facade of democracy.”

The US’ Summit for Democracy meeting aimed to promote democracy and human rights while countering authoritarianism and corruption but in truth, it stinks of rank hypocrisy given the US’ relationship with a number of authoritarian governments.

Asia News

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Bob Scott

Bob Scott is an experienced writer and editor with a passion for travel. Born and raised in Newcastle, England, he spent more than 10 years in Asia. He worked as a sports writer in the north of England and London before relocating to Asia. Now he resides in Bangkok, Thailand, where he is the Editor-in-Chief for The Thaiger English News. With a vast amount of experience from living and writing abroad, Bob Scott is an expert on all things related to Asian culture and lifestyle.