Minister Without Portfolio Audrey Tang (唐鳳) and Representative to the US Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) are to attend the US-led Summit for Democracy on Dec. 9 and 10, the government said yesterday, after US President Joe Biden announced the list of guests for the virtual event.
The US Department of State on Tuesday announced a list of 110 invited participants, including Taiwan, Australia, Canada, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Japan and the UK.
China and Russia were not invited, and Beijing expressed anger at the decision to invite Taiwan.
Photo: RITCHIE B. TONGO, EPA-EFE
The summit is to revolve around three key themes: Defending against authoritarianism, addressing and fighting corruption, and promoting respect for human rights, the department said in a statement in February, adding that the event would engage leaders from governments, civil society and the private sector.
Tang and Hsiao are to share how Taipei has improved government operations with technological and digital tools, and convey Taiwan’s commitment to defending democracy, Presidential Office spokesman Xavier Chang (張惇涵) said in a statement.
The firm partnership between Taipei and Washington is evidenced in their close interactions in areas ranging from the summit, the second US-Taiwan Economic Prosperity Partnership Dialogue on Tuesday and the third annual US-Taiwan Consultations on Democratic Governance in the Indo-Pacific Region on Monday last week, Chang said.
Photo: Lu Yi-hsuan, Taipei Times
At a US House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs hearing in March, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken had promised that the US would invite Taiwan to the summit, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
The US is still planning the summit’s agenda, while maintaining close communication with Taiwan in a bid to better reflect the nation’s democratic achievements, the ministry said.
To echo Washington’s goals for the summit, the government has taken concrete action, such as completing its first national human rights action plan last year, it said.
Photo: Chen Yi-kuan, Taipei Times
The government would also continue to promote democracy and human rights through the Global Cooperation and Training Framework, it said.
Taiwan is on the front line of defending freedom and democracy against authoritarianism, and would continue to work with civic groups at home and abroad, as well as like-minded countries, to be a force for good in the world, the ministry said.
Experts on China said that Washington inviting Taipei to attend the summit was significant.
“I agree Taiwan more than qualifies- but it does seem to be only democratic govt invited that the US govt does not officially recognize. So its inclusion is a big deal,” Hofstra University law professor Julian Ku (古舉倫) wrote on Twitter.
“For this kick-off summit ... there’s a case for getting a broad set of actors into the room: It provides for a better exchange of ideas than setting a perfect bar for qualification,” Open Society Foundations codirector Laleh Ispahani told reporters.
Rather than using the summit as an anti-China meeting, Ispahani urged Biden to address “the serious decline of democracy around the world — including relatively robust models like the US.”
There was an angry rebuke from Beijing, which said it “firmly opposes” the invitation of Taiwan to “the so-called Summit for Democracy.”
Additional reporting by AFP
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