TAIPEI (REUTERS) - Countries complaining about the United States Summit for Democracy need to double down on democracy themselves so maybe next time they will get an invite, too, Taiwan's digital minister said on Thursday (Dec 2), responding to China's opposition to her attendance.
Ms Audrey Tang, along with Taipei's de facto ambassador in Washington Hsiao Bi-khim, will be representing Taiwan at next week's summit organised by the Biden administration.
China, which considers Taiwan as a renegade province to be reunified, by force if necessary, has condemned the US for its invitation, as it generally does for any interaction between the two governments, which do not have formal diplomatic relations.
Speaking as part of the Reuters Next conference, and asked about China's opposition to Taiwan's participation, Ms Tang said she did not think this would be the last round of the democracy summit.
"There will be in the future more summit gatherings for democracy," said Ms Tang, a transgender woman who joined the Cabinet in 2016 aged 35 as the second-youngest appointee ever.
"So, for all the governments and peoples around the world who feel maybe slighted that they have not be invited as a participant, my suggestion is to double down on realising democracy so that maybe by the next round we will be sharing the same stage," she added.
China has stepped up its military and political pressure on Taiwan to accept its sovereignty claims.
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen says only its democratically-elected government can speak for Taiwan's people and that she will defend their democracy and freedom.
Ms Tang champions radical transparency and full participatory democracy that is an ongoing process rather than every four years, including petitions and getting ideas, such as banning plastic straws, from people still too young to vote.
"All these ways are to increase the bandwidth of democracy so that the government can respond to people's needs in the here and now," she said.
"And also, more importantly, new innovations can th...