World Joe Biden's Summit for Democracy Is Missing Some Surprising Countries
China hails Xi and Biden talks, after year of growing strain
BEIJING (AP) — China on Tuesday hailed a virtual meeting between President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Joe Biden, saying they had a candid and constructive exchange that sent a strong signal to the world. The positive description of the meeting came in sharp contrast to heated exchanges between the two nations earlier this year. The talks appeared to mark what both sides hoped would be a turnaround in relations, though major differences remain. © Provided by Associated Press In this photo released by Xinhua News Agency Chinese President Xi Jinping, fourth from right waves as he greets U.S. President Joe Biden via video link from Beijing, China on Tuesday, Nov.
Presidentwill fulfill a campaign pledge next month when he hosts the inaugural Summit for Democracy from the , but the event is already dividing opinions because of some notable omissions in the list of participants.
Every U.S. ally and major Western government will be represented at the summit, which is scheduled to take place virtually between December 9 and 10. These include Asian treaty allies, and the , fellow member , and and , longtime partners who are also members of the newly minted security pact.
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COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Democracy is deteriorating across the world, with countries notably taking undemocratic and unnecessary actions to contain the coronavirus pandemic, an intergovernmental body said in its new report Monday. “Many democratic governments are backsliding," the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, or International IDEA, said. The 34-nation organization added that as of August 2021, 64% of countries have taken an action to curb the pandemic that it considers “disproportionate, unnecessary or illegal."The Swedish-based body added that the situation is also getting worse in countries that are not democratic.
However, a closer look at the guest list reveals some telling absentees. Neithernor will attend, with the latter having overtaken the former as the foremost threat in the eyes of American defense planners and supply-chain policymakers alike.
Everymember apart from will be present. Hungary's authoritarian prime minister, Viktor Orban, maintains close relations with both Moscow and Beijing, but the country has also been a member for more than two decades.
, a NATO member since 1952, has also been snubbed.
I will invite my fellow democratic leaders to put strengthening democracy back on the global agenda.
We will organize and host, during the first year of my administration, a global Summit for Democracy to renew the spirit and shared purpose of the nations of the Free World. pic.twitter.com/KRSbivKXo5
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Regional friction over issues like trade and immigration could overshadow Biden's attempt to revive the North American leaders' summit.Biden will meet face-to-face with Trudeau and López Obrador together for the first time since the leaders took office in what will be the first summit between the three countries following four years of former President Donald Trump's fractious relationship with Mexico and Canada.— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) July 11, 2019
For observers who follow the U.S. political and military realignment to the Indo-Pacific—a region China is likely to dominate in the absence of American attention—it is the omission of important Southeast Asian governments that stands out.
Of the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, only three are invited: the Philippines,and . Missing from the list are , , , , , and .
Some align closer with Beijing, while others are not democracies, but the bloc is described in Washington as central to maintaining the regional "rules-based order."
The absence of Singapore—a U.S. security partner with naval and air base agreements—at first appears particularly controversial. But analysts in the city-state told Newsweek that it's just as well Prime Minister's government wasn't invited.
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NANTUCKET, Mass. (AP) — President Joe Biden on Thursday wished Americans a happy and closer-to-normal Thanksgiving, the second celebrated in the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic, in remarks welcoming the resumption of holiday traditions by millions of families — including his own. “As we give thanks for what we have, we also keep in our hearts those who have been lost and those who have lost so much,” the president said in a videotaped greeting recorded with first lady Jill Biden at the White House before their trip to Nantucket, Massachusetts, for the holiday. On the island, the Bidens visited the Coast Guard station at Brant Point to meet virtually with U.S.
At aforum last November, shortly after the U.S. presidential election, Lee the idea of Singapore ever joining Biden's proposed "coalition of democracies" against China, describing it as a "Cold War–style" lineup.
"I believe Singapore would prefer not to be lumped or corralled into any ideological camp," said, a maritime security analyst at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in the city-state. But Singapore's absence from the summit is unlikely to change its importance in the eyes of the U.S. and vice versa.
"Ultimately, I don't think an invite matters for co-operation for Singapore or the U.S.," said political scientist Ian Chong, who pointed to the many available channels between the two governments.
The way to look at it, then, may be to detach Biden's democracy summit from the broader U.S. realignment to the Asia-Pacific region.
"The administration's Indo-Pacific strategy is based on a network of minilateralisms not multilateralism," said Adrian Ang, a research fellow at Singapore's S. Rajaratnam School—a reference to smaller, more targeted groupings such as the Quad and AUKUS, both of which seek to counter areas of China's growing influence in the region.
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"Overall, the number of countries moving in an authoritarian direction in 2020 outnumbered those going in a democratic direction," the report said."Many democratic governments are backsliding," the Swedish-based International IDEA said.
According to Chong, the gathering of 110 governments could be Biden's way of "using different modes of engagement to reach out to different states and entities." "Something substantial may come out of it for participants," he added.
One of those is likely to be, a hot potato in U.S.-China relations for more than 40 years. Its officials will be the only representatives from a government with which Washington has no formal diplomatic relations. For Taipei, the event holds great significance as a chance to showcase achievements in governance in the absence of widely recognized statehood.
Aspokesperson told Newsweek on Thursday: "The goal of the invitation list was to ensure the summit reflects regional as well as socio-economic diversity, and also that it includes a slate of both well-established and emerging democracies.
"We are embracing a big tent, with a clear-eyed recognition that no democracy is perfect. The United States reached out to a regionally diverse set of democracies whose progress and commitments will advance a more just and peaceful world."
The department added: "Our goal is to be as inclusive as possible, within logistical constraints. We will work to ensure that all relevant voices and viewpoints feed into the summit process. In the long run, we seek to engage any and all countries that show a genuine willingness in making commitments that support the summit's goals."
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