President Joe Biden announced in February that he would assemble a Summit for Democracy by December. One of the possible participants in the event is President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan. But Chinese officials have threatened military action against Taiwan if Washington allows him to participate. China claims that Taiwan is a part of it.
The planned Summit for Democracy aims to “bring together heads of state, civil society, philanthropy, and the private sector, serving as an opportunity for world leaders to listen to one another and to their citizens.” Earlier, Taiwan’s unofficial ambassador in Washington, Hsiao Bi-khim, expressed the willingness of Taiwan to participate in the said summit noting that she received positive feedback regarding the matter, The Hill reported.
Bi-khim’s statement regarding getting positive feedback about Taiwan wanting to participate in the summit was echoed by Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Blinken said during a House Foreign Affairs Committee meeting in March that he was committed to inviting Taiwan because “the country is a strong democracy” and “a very strong technological power and a country that can contribute to the world and not just its own people.” It is unclear if that remains the stance of Blinken now because of the threats of China.
Last week, Hu Xijin, editor of Beijing’s propaganda outlet Global Times, said in a statement that the participation of Taiwan’s president in the summit would “gravely violate” China’s red lines. It will also present the historical opportunity for China to lets its fighters jets fly over the island.
If this indeed happens, the United States would have to decide if it can help Taiwan under the Taiwan Relations Act, which states in part, “to resist any resort to force or other forms of coercion that would jeopardize the security of the people on Taiwan.”
In an interview last week, Biden said of the issue, “We made a sacred commitment to Article 5 that if, in fact, anyone were to invade or take action against our NATO allies, we would respond. Same with Japan, same with South Korea, same with Taiwan.” Biden answered the issue after being asked by George Stephanopoulos that China might have told Taiwan that the latter cannot count on the United States because of pulling out the U.S. troops from Afghanistan.