M’sia, Indonesia & Taiwan invited to US democracy summit, S’pore not involved

There are 110 invitees.

Sulaiman Daud | November 24, 2021, 01:05 PM

Follow us on Telegram for the latest updates: https://t.me/mothershipsg

President Joe Biden's Administration will be hosting a virtual "Summit for Democracy" on Dec. 9 and 10.

According to the U.S. State Department, the summit will focus on "challenges and opportunities facing democracies and will provide a platform for leaders to announce both individual and collective commitments, reforms, and initiatives to defend democracy and human rights at home and abroad".

There will be 110 invitees, including representatives from countries like Japan, the UK and Pakistan.

Closer to home, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines are also invited.

The U.S. has also extended an invitation to Taiwan, the self-ruled island claimed by the People's Republic of China as part of its territory. China is not on the list of invitees.

Singapore is also not on the list. Mothership understands from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that Singapore did not receive an invite to the summit.

Possible strategic reasons for invitees

According to Bloomberg:

"The online gathering is an event President Biden vowed to host during his election campaign last year, with the goal of rallying like-minded countries around efforts to fight corruption and authoritarianism and advance human rights."

The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace did an analysis of the list of invitees, speculating that some were invited for strategic reasons.

For instance, Pakistan, the Philippines and Ukraine have broader strategic interests, such as working with the U.S. on counter terrorism, or countering China and Russia's influence.

"Regional dynamics" could have also played a part, such as Iraq being invited so that Israel would not be the only invitee from the Middle East.

Bloomberg also mentioned that Taiwan's invite could be seen as a gesture of support, despite the U.S. not officially recognising Taiwan as an independent country.

The move is expected to result in a backlash from Beijing, where China's president Xi Jinping has not ruled out the use of force to claim Taiwan's territory.

U.S.' democratic standards

Other critics have pointed to the U.S. itself backsliding in democratic standards, after supporters of former U.S. president Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 during the counting of the electoral college votes of the 2020 presidential election.

In March 2021, democracy watchdog Freedom House downgraded the U.S., citing increased polarisation, unequal treatment of minorities and the influence of money in politics.

In November 2021, Sweden-based international think tank IDEA listed the U.S. as a "backsliding democracy", calling Trump's questioning of the legitimacy of the 2020 election (without evidence) a major turning point.

Related story:

Follow and listen to our podcast here

Top image by Frolda via Unsplash.