U.S. irks China, invites Taiwan to democracy summit

In a move that's infuriated China, the Biden administration has invited Taiwan to its "Summit for Democracy" next month - according to a list of participants published on Tuesday (November 23).

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.

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.

China and Russia are notably absent.

Taiwan's Foreign Ministry said the government would be represented by its Digital Minister and Taiwan's de facto ambassador in Washington.

China's Foreign Ministry said it was "firmly opposed" to the invite.

Sharp differences over democratically governed Taiwan, which China considers its own territory, persisted during a virtual meeting earlier this month between Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The White House said that while Biden reiterated long-standing U.S. support for the "One China" policy, he also said he "strongly opposes unilateral efforts to change the status quo or undermine peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait."

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