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China, Russia furious over Biden’s democracy summit snubs

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Beijing: China and Russia reacted furiously on Wednesday to US President Joe Biden’s planned democracy summit, which will exclude them, with Beijing angered over an invitation for Taiwan and the Kremlin branding it divisive.

The global conference was a campaign pledge by the US president, who has placed the struggle between democracies and “autocratic governments” at the heart of his foreign policy.

The inclusion of Taiwan, and not China, led to an angry rebuke from Beijing, which said it “firmly opposes” the invitation to “the so-called Summit for Democracy.” Beijing claims self-ruled Taiwan as part of its territory to be retaken one day, by force if necessary.

Around 110 countries have been invited to the virtual summit, including the United States’ major Western allies but also Iraq, India and Pakistan. But Russia said the guest list, released Tuesday on the State Department website, showed that the United States “prefers to create new dividing lines, to divide countries into those that — in their opinion — are good, and those that are bad.”

“More and more countries prefer to decide themselves how to live,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters, adding that Washington is “trying to privatise the term ‘democracy’.”

“That can’t do so and should not do so,” he said. The invitation is a major coup for Taipei at a time when China is ramping up its campaign to keep Taiwan locked out of international bodies. Taiwan said the gathering would be a rare opportunity to burnish its credentials on the world stage. “Through this summit, Taiwan can share its democratic success story,” presidential office spokesman Xavier Chang told reporters. Only 15 countries officially recognise Taipei over Beijing, although many nations maintain de facto diplomatic relations with the island.



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