Has Pakistan Ruled in Favor of China by Rejecting the Biden Summit?

Biden hosted a virtual summit on the topic of democracy. Many countries were invited to attend the summit including Pakistan. However, Pakistan chose not to attend the Biden summit. What was the summit about? Why did Pakistan refuse to attend the Biden summit? What will be the future of Pakistan-US relations?


What is Biden Summit?

Biden Summit is a virtual 2-days summit held by Joe Biden on 9 and 10th December 2021. The idea was to promote democracy in the United States and to alert the world against dictatorship, totalitarianism, or authoritarianism. Moreover, the additional themes of the summit were to talk about corruption and safeguard human rights around the world.

Biden summit invited many world leaders to the table to talk about the themes of the 2-day virtual summit. Panel discussions were held to talk and find solutions in promoting democracy and fighting against authoritative rules. The full program of the event and the list of participants can be found here.

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Invitees of Biden Summit

Many countries with strong or weak democracies were invited to the virtual summit. These democracies included:

  • Iraq and Israel from the Middle East
  • Pakistan, India, Nepal, and Malaysia were invited from Central and South Asia
  • 17 invitees from Africa
  • 39 from Europe
  • 27 from Western Hemisphere.

Among all the invitees, two of the biggest countries – China and Russia – were not invited. Not only that, Biden goes over to the length of inviting Taiwan that is competing with China by calling itself a parallel China. Moreover, the Biden summit invited Brazil, Poland, Iraq, India, and Angola that are either held accountable for human rights violations or their anti-democratic measures.

The invitation list of the Biden summit has been criticized by many political analysts and journalists in the US and many parts of the world.

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Pakistan’s Participation in Biden summit

Pakistan chose not to attend the Biden summit. This statement was issued from Pakistan’s foreign office:

“We are thankful to the United States for inviting Pakistan for participation in the Summit for Democracy. We remain in contact with the US on a range of issues and believe that we can engage on this subject at an opportune time in the future.”

Many questions were raised over this decision to which Pakistan’s Foreign office’s spokesperson responded:

“With regard to the Summit for Democracy, I would like to say that our issued statement speaks for itself and I would like you to refer to it. It was a considered decision.”

It is important to note that the statement from FO reflects that the decision was a planned and well-thought-out decision rather than a haste decision under any external pressure. Moreover, Biden’s attitude toward Pakistan after abruptly leaving Afghanistan without clearing out its mess and ignoring Pakistan’s efforts in the Taliban peace plan can be the reasons for rejecting the Biden summit.

Lijian Zhao, China’s foreign office’s spokesperson says in a tweet

“Pakistan declined to attend democracy summit. A real iron brother!”

Pakistan also showed concern on the hidden agenda put forth through the Biden summit. It seems like a foundation of a political ploy against China and Russia – the biggest threat to the US in current international politics. As for now, there seems to be no external pressure on Pakistan from China in any decision regarding the Biden summit. However, Pakistan’s decision not to attend the virtual summit has left a message that Pakistan stands with China.

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Is Biden Summit a Call for Cold War?

After looking at the invitees list of the Biden summit, it is pretty much evident that the summit was not held to serve a greater cause. It was rather a move by Biden to form political aalliance with countries that serve the US its benefits. The exclusion of China and Russia also brings suspicions of an upcoming cold war of the US with China and Russia. If this summit was held to lay the groundwork for political or regional alliance in face of a possible cold war, the summit has achieved the purpose. However, the reaction to the Biden summit and its agenda received backlash that can prove to be counterproductive for the US and Biden’s administration.

Hayya Zahra

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