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China slams US for inviting Taiwan to ‘Summit for Democracy’

The Chinese Foreign Ministry on Wednesday criticised the United States for inviting Taiwan, considered by China as part of its territory, to the “Summit for Democracy” which President Joe Biden will host virtually in December.

“China is firmly opposed to inviting Taiwan to the US-hosted ‘Summit for Democracy’,” spokesman Zhao Lijian told a news briefing.

Taiwan is among 110 countries invited to the December 9-10 virtual summit, according to a list of participants published by the US Department of State on its website. China has not been invited, along with other countries Washington believes are not committed to democracy.

Taiwan’s foreign policy office thanked the United States for the opportunity. The summit will see government leaders hammer out initiatives to counter authoritarianism, corruption, and promote human rights.

This comes days after US President Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping held their first face-to-face virtual meeting, which lasted over three hours and saw the two presidents discuss a wide range of bilateral and international issues, including the Taiwan question.

Xi said that China pursues the prospect of peaceful reunification but added that “if the separatist forces for “Taiwan independence” provoke us, force our hands or even cross the red line, we will be compelled to take resolute measures.” Biden, for his part, reaffirmed his administration’s long-standing one-China policy, adding that the US does not support “Taiwan independence”. However, he stressed that it is up to the island’s people to decide on their future and suggested that US troops would defend Taiwan in case of Chinese aggression.

Since the end of the Chinese civil war in 1949, Taiwan has been governed independently from mainland China. Beijing views the island as a breakaway province but Taiwan — a territory with its own democratically-elected government — maintains that it is an autonomous country.