SUMMIT FOR DEMOCRACY: Biden vows funds, tech alliance
President Joe Biden yesterday urged unity among democracies in the face of Russia and China as he committed nearly $700 million to halt global democratic backsliding and forged an alliance against surveillance technology.
Biden invited 121 leaders for his second, largely virtual "Summit for Democracy," including the prime ministers of close US partners Israel and India who both defended their records after charges of creeping authoritarianism.
First conceived by Biden as a way to restore US credibility after Donald Trump's norm-shattering presidency and the attack on the US Capitol, the Summit for Democracy has taken a new urgency as Ukraine fights back a Russian invasion and as China goes on a diplomatic offensive.
The summit will work on "holding Russia accountable for its unjust and unprovoked war against Ukraine, showing that democracies are strong and resolved," Biden said in brief opening remarks.
After criticism that the first summit was too US-focused, Biden tapped leaders on each continent -- from South Korea, Zambia, Costa Rica and The Netherlands -- as co-hosts.
"We must embark on a new journey to revive democracy, which is currently under attack," said South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, who announced his country would spearhead the third Summit of Democracies.
Biden, who was set to address the two-day summit more formally later yesterday, will announce $690 million to promote democracy overseas, a US official said.