Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for August 8, 2017

Newsline: Belgian prince has his £280k state allowance cut after embarrassing diplomatic incident at Chinese embassy

Prince Laurent of Belgium has caused a royal scandal after revealing he attended celebrations to mark the founding of the Chinese army. The prince, who is the younger brother of King Philippe, posted photos of himself attending the event online despite being banned by Prime Minister Charles Michel. Mr Michel issued a decree last December barring Prince Laurent from attending any talks with senior foreign officials without informing the government after a series of controversial meetings, including with the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka. The Prime Minister warned Prince Laurent at the time that his €308,000-per-year (£280,000) salary was at risk, and is now thought to be mulling a fine of up to €30,000 (£28,000). The celebration marking the founding of the People’s Liberation Army was held at the Chinese embassy in Brussels on 19th July, but it was not known at the time that the prince had attended. Controversy began this week after the prince, who is married to British-born Princess Claire, a former surveyor, a posted images of the event on Twitter.



Newsline: A Rare Round of Diplomacy From North Korea’s Top Diplomat

A Southeast Asian diplomatic meeting quietly turned into the first real multiparty bargaining session in eight years to tackle North Korea’s nuclear program, as the country’s top diplomat held a rare round of talks with his counterparts from China, South Korea and Russia. The United States and Japan were the only members of the so-called six-party talks on the North’s nuclear ambitions, which ended in failure in 2009, whose diplomats did not meet this week with Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho of North Korea. But Rex W. Tillerson, the American secretary of state, kept the door open for talks, saying at a news conference on Monday that he had no specific preconditions for negotiating with Pyongyang. “Well, the best signal that North Korea could give us that they are prepared to talk would be to stop these missile launches,” Mr. Tillerson said. But when asked how long such a pause would have to last before talks could go forward, Mr. Tillerson demurred. “We’ll know it when we see it,” he said. “We are not going to give someone a specific number of days or weeks. This is really about the spirit of these talks.”