A man cycles past a Taiwan flag in Taipei, Taiwan. File/Reuters
The Biden administration has invited Taiwan to its "Summit for Democracy" next month, according to a list of participants published on Tuesday, a move likely to infuriate China, which views the democratically governed island as its territory.
Joe Biden has invited Taiwan to a virtual summit on democracy alongside more than 100 countries, as the 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 first-of-its-kind gathering is a test of President Biden's assertion, announced in his first foreign policy address in office in February, that he would return the United States to global leadership to face down authoritarian forces led by China and Russia.
The "Summit for Democracy" will take place online on December 9 and 10 ahead of an in-person meeting at its second edition next year.
Picture used for illustrative purposes only
The meeting was long advertised, but the guest list — published Tuesday on the State Department's website — will be closely scrutinised.
There are 110 participants on the State Department's invitation list for the virtual event, which aims to help stop democratic backsliding and the erosion of rights and freedoms worldwide. The list does not include China or Russia.
The invite for Taiwan comes as China has stepped up pressure on countries to downgrade or sever relations with the island, which is considered by Beijing to have no right to the trappings of a state.
Self-ruling Taiwan says Beijing has no right to speak for it.
The US move is guaranteed to further inflame tensions between the two superpowers.
"I agree Taiwan more than qualifies- but it does seem to be (the) only democratic govt invited that the US govt does not officially recognize. So its inclusion is a big deal," tweeted Julian Ku, a Hofstra University law professor whose specialities include China.
India, often called "the world's biggest democracy," will be present despite increasing criticism from human rights defenders over democratic backsliding under Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
So too will Pakistan, despite its checkered relationship with Washington.
While Washington is required by law to provide Taiwan with the means to defend itself, it has long followed a policy of "strategic ambiguity" on whether it would intervene militarily to protect Taiwan in the event of a Chinese attack.
The US military said it sent two Navy warships through the Taiwan Strait on Sunday as the Pentagon increases the frequency of movement through the strategic waterway despite opposition from China.
Taiwan’s export orders contracted for an eighth straight month in June, with global companies increasingly hesitant to make new investments in machinery as the China-US trade war wears on.
The Ministry stressed in a statement on Wednesday that its aim to continue expanding the scope of testing nationwide to facilitate the early detection of coronavirus cases and carry out the necessary treatment.
This restriction shall not apply to international all-cargo operations and flights specifically approved by the DGCA. However, flights under the Air Bubble agreement will not be affected, the DGCA said.
Wide range of lively entertainment shows being held every weekend until February 26 across Al Qasba, Al Majaz Waterfront, Al Montazah Parks and Khorfakkan Beach.