Biden invites Taiwan to democracy summit in likely slap at China

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The Biden administration drew condemnation from China on Wednesday after the State Department announced it had invited Taiwan to its Summit for Democracy next month.

“What the U.S. did proves that the so-called democracy summit is just a pretext and tool for it to pursue geopolitical goals, suppress other countries, divide the world, serve its own interest and maintain its hegemony in the world,” said Zhao Lijian, spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, according to The Associated Press.

Zhu Fenglian, who is a spokesperson for China’s Taiwan Affairs Office, said, “We firmly oppose any form of official contacts between the U.S. and the Chinese region of Taiwan.”

Taiwan, an island nation that China claims as its territory, is among the 110 countries invited to the Summit for Democracy, which gathers together leaders from government, civil society and the private sector to defend democracy and human rights. China and Russia were not invited.

A Chinese PLA J-16 fighter jet flies in an undisclosed location in this undated file.

A Chinese PLA J-16 fighter jet flies in an undisclosed location in this undated file. (Taiwan Ministry of Defense via AP)

BIDEN’S VOW TO PROTECT TAIWAN, WALKED BACK BY WHITE HOUSE, COULD SIGNAL INTERNAL POLICY DEBATE, EXPERTS SAY

During his virtual meeting this month with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Biden affirmed U.S. support for the “One China” policy, while noting that the White House “strongly opposes unilateral efforts to change the status quo or undermine peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.”

Biden raised eyebrows during a CNN town hall in October when he said the U.S would protect Taiwan in the case of an attack from Beijing. The comment was later walked back by the White House.

President Joe Biden participates in a CNN town hall in Baltimore on Oct. 21, 2021.

President Joe Biden participates in a CNN town hall in Baltimore on Oct. 21, 2021. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

“China, Russia and the rest of the world knows we have the most powerful military in the history of the world. Don’t worry about whether we’re going to – they’re going to be more powerful,” Biden said. “What you do have to worry about is whether or not they’re going to engage in activities that will put them in a position where they may make a serious mistake.”

Further pushed about whether the United States would defend Taiwan from a Chinese attack, Biden added: “Yes. Yes, we have a commitment to do that.”

The U.S. policy for decades has been one of “strategic ambiguity” regarding how it would respond to a Chinese attack on Taiwan. The 1979 Taiwan Relations Act commits the U.S. to support Taiwan, including providing it defensive capabilities, but does not guarantee engagement in a military conflict.

President Biden meets virtually with China's President Xi Jinping from the White House on Nov. 15, 2021.

President Biden meets virtually with China’s President Xi Jinping from the White House on Nov. 15, 2021. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)

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On Tuesday, China protested when a U.S. Navy destroyer passed through the Taiwan Strait, claiming it was an attempt to undermine stability in the region.

Fox News’ Adam Shaw and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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