US Summit for Democracy excludes Thailand, includes Taiwan

PHOTO: The Biden Summit for Democracy included Taiwan but left out Thailand. (via Flickr Gage Skidmore)

US President Joe Biden is convening a Summit for Democracy next month, inviting over 100 countries to participate with one notable exception — Thailand — and one controversial inclusion — Taiwan. The event, which will take place virtually on December 9 and 10, has invited 110 participants, according to a list published yesterday from the US State Department.

While Thailand did not make the list for the summit that aims to curb the loss of rights and freedoms worldwide to stop the regression of democracy, the inclusion of Taiwan creates tension with China who has long considered Taiwan a part of China though it is governed by Democratic leaders independent of mainland China. Taiwan’s presence may be especially pointed as neither China nor Russia made the list as well.

Taiwan will send its Digital Minister who has been acting as a de-facto ambassador in Washington DC according to their Foreign Ministry. The controversy stems as China has recently been pushing for countries worldwide to drop diplomatic ties to the island nation and recognize Beijing, not Taipei, as the only political and diplomatic entity when Taiwan is involved. The US has long recognized a “One China” policy officially while also urging China not to rock the boat and threaten the peace and the region by pushing the Taiwan issue.

China’s President Xi Jinping has said that Taiwanese seeking independence and other countries who support them are “playing with fire”, while the Foreign Minister had harsh words in strongly opposing Taiwan’s inclusion at the summit.

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“US actions only go to show democracy is just a cover and a tool for it to advance its geopolitical objectives, oppress other countries, divide the world and serve its own interests.”

Meanwhile, The summit itself is attempting to spread or maintain democracy and the list of world leaders includes seasoned democracies as well as some countries that may be leaning towards bits of authoritarianism. Stable democracies like France and Sweden are participating, but also nations like India, the Philippines, and Poland where democracy may be at risk.

Only Iraq and Israel were invited to participate from the Middle East, with US allies like Egypt and NATO country Turkey excluded. In Asia, South Korea and Japan will participate in the Summit, but Thailand and Vietnam will not, despite good relations with the US.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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