Biden calls a summit on democracy in the US, excluding China

The Washington administration has released the list of 110 countries invited to participate in the virtual summit for democracy on 9 and 10 December “to set an agenda for democratic renewal and face the most serious threats to nations”. Among the countries on the list is Taiwan but not China. Russia, Egypt and Turkey are also excluded. All member states of the European Union are invited, with the exception of Hungary. Also present were Japan and South Korea, the Philippines, India, Israel, Iraq, Zambia, Senegal, Angola, Nigeria and Malaui. Canada, Mexico, Colombia, Chile, Peru, Ecuador and Brazil will also participate.

The issues under discussion

Among the topics of discussion, the defense against authoritarianism, the fight against corruption, the promotion of respect for human rights and the defense of human rights violated by authoritarian regimes. Reason why among the countries invited by the White House are the European allies, Iraq, India and Taiwan, while China does not appear, repeatedly accused by the Biden administration of violating the rights in the Xinjang region, in Tibet and in Hong Kong. However, a decision that risks further fueling tensions between Washington and Beijing with the latter accused of having violated Taiwan’s airspace several times. Decision that also risks compromising the thaw evidence after the virtual summit between Joe Biden and Xi Jinping. Also excluded from the guests were Turkey, which is an ally of the United States within NATO, Hungary and the main Arab partners of the United States: Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. Instead, Brazil and Poland will be present.

Invitations and exclusions

The traditional Arab allies of the United States – Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates – were not invited to the summit. Biden, however, has invited Brazil even though its far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro has been criticized for having an authoritarian bent and being a staunch supporter of Donald Trump. In Europe, Poland was invited to the summit despite persistent tensions with the European Union over the human rights situation. Hungary, led by the uncompromising nationalist prime minister Viktor Orban, on the other hand, was not invited. In Africa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Africa, Nigeria and Niger are among the countries on the list. In announcing the summit in August, the White House stated that the meeting “would stimulate commitments and initiatives on three main themes: defense against authoritarianism, fight against corruption and promotion of respect for human rights”.