U.S. unveils invitation list for Biden’s “Summit for Democracy”

Countries and governments invited to the 2021 Summit for Democracy

Taiwan is among the 110 delegations invited to President Biden’s “Summit for Democracy” next month, according to a list released by the State Department on Tuesday night.

Why it matters: Taiwan’s inclusion is sure to infuriate the Chinese government, which views the self-governing island as a breakaway territory and opposes any attempts to legitimize it on the international stage.

  • Biden has repeatedly expressed his ironclad commitment to helping Taiwan defend itself from a potential Chinese invasion.
  • He has at times gone further than the official U.S. government position on a potential war over Taiwan, only to have the White House press office clarify that the policy has not changed.

The big picture: The invitation list for Biden’s summit, which will be held Dec. 9-10, underscores the messy nature of 21st-century democracy and U.S. relations with certain allies and partners.

  • Hungary, whose far-right Prime Minister Viktor Orbán is a staunch proponent of “illiberal democracy,” is the only member of the European Union not invited to the summit.
  • NATO ally Turkey was also not invited, amid President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s increasingly authoritarian antics and drift toward Russia.
  • The Biden administration did, however, invite Poland, India and the Philippines, which have also experienced democratic backsliding over the past several years.

Details: The summit is expected to focus on three principle themes — “defending against authoritarianism, fighting corruption, and promoting respect for human rights,” according to the State Department.

  • In addition to world leaders, Biden will convene members of civil society and the private sector for an array of events focused on “designing concrete commitments and deliverables for the summit.”
  • In approximately one year, Biden will host a second summit — this time in-person — to “take stock of the progress made and forge a common path ahead.”