The Guardian – Helen Davidson / China accuses US of ‘mistake’ after Biden invites Taiwan to democracy summit
- China’s government has accused Joe Biden of “a mistake” in inviting Taiwan to participate in a democracy summit alongside 109 other democratic governments.
- Taiwan was included in a list of participants for next month’s Summit for Democracy, published by the state department on Tuesday. Taiwan is a democracy and self-governing, but Beijing claims it is a province of China and has accused its government of separatism.
- The inaugural gathering is considered a test of Biden’s pledge that he would return the US to a position asserting global leadership to challenge authoritarian forces led by China and Russia. Neither is included in the virtual summit, scheduled for 9 and 10 December.
- On Wednesday, Zhu Fenglian, spokeswoman for China’s Taiwan Affairs Office, said the inclusion of Taiwan was a “mistake” and Beijing opposed “any official interaction between the US and China’s Taiwan region”.
- Carnegie Endowment for International Peace – Steven Feldstein / Who’s in and who’s out from Biden’s democracy summit
Politico – Hans von de Burchard and Joshua Posaner / Maroš Šefčovič: Post-Brexit talks will ‘probably’ drag into next year
- EU-U.K. talks on Northern Ireland trade rules will “probably” continue into next year, the European Commission’s Brexit point person said Tuesday.
- Maroš Šefčovič told POLITICO in an interview that he had been “probably too ambitious” when previously stating that discussions on customs and food checks or the role of the Court of Justice of the European Union could be wrapped up before Christmas.
- “I think that if there was the clear political will from the U.K. side these … problems could be solved,” he said. “But looking at how far we progressed over the last four weeks, the level of detail our U.K. partners want to discuss, I know that we will probably not be able to resolve everything before the end of the year.”
- The two sides have been at odds for months over how to police trade between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, which is part of the U.K. but remains within the EU’s single market under the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement both sides reached in 2019.
- Bloomberg – Joe Mayes, Jorge Valero and Kitty Donaldson / EU sees crunch moment in Brexit talks with focus on medicines
Politico – David M. Herszenhorn / Von der Leyen sees ‘pandemic of the unvaccinated’
- European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Tuesday said the fourth wave of COVID-19 slamming Europe was “a pandemic of the unvaccinated” and urged people to get inoculated or a booster shot.
- Speaking to the European Parliament plenary in Strasbourg, von der Leyen cited large and worrying disparities in different EU member countries’ vaccination rates. In Bulgaria, slightly more than 29 percent of adults are fully vaccinated, compared to more than 90 percent of adults in Portugal and Ireland.
- “The pressure of the pandemic is not over,” von der Leyen told Parliament. “Today we are in a better situation thanks to the availability of vaccinations, which protect.”
- But despite that availability, she noted, many people remain unvaccinated. And those people are at a much higher risk of falling seriously ill and becoming hospitalized.
- The Atlantic – Yasmeen Serhan / The new pandemic division tearing Europe apart
Foreign Policy – Colyn Lynch, Jack Detsch and Robbie Gramer / UN Libya envoy abruptly resigns ahead of critical elections
- The United Nations special envoy for Libya, Jan Kubis, abruptly tendered his resignation from his post as the top international troubleshooter in the North African country, leaving a diplomatic vacuum just weeks before Tripoli’s controversial presidential and parliamentary elections.
- The announcement deals a blow to the international community’s efforts to stabilize Libya and facilitate elections in a bid to end a decade of chaos and violence.
- The move comes after world leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, and U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris pressed the Libyans to proceed with “free, fair, inclusive and credible presidential and parliamentary elections” on Dec. 24.
- “The international community is putting all its eggs in this election, so it needs to go well,” said Thomas Hill, an expert on North Africa issues with the U.S. Institute of Peace. “Having [Kubis] drop out now could be an indication that things are falling apart behind the scenes.”
- The New Arab – Alessandra Bajec / The promise and pitfalls of Lybia’s high-stakes elections
Today’s further reads:
- Bloomberg – Akshat Rathi / Making sense of the narratives after the Glasgow climate talks
- Brookings Institution – Steven Pifer / Will Putin miscalculate?