Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for Asia

Newsline: Australian embassy site in Thailand up for sale

The site of the Australian embassy in Sathorn area, almost eight rai of land, is being offered for sale by expression of interest, according to the appointed sole agent JLL. The compound covers 12,728 square metres of freehold land on South Sathorn Road, one of Bangkok’s prime commercial and residential addresses. The closing date for offers is early June.

http://www.bangkokpost.com/business/news/1219933/australian-embassy-site-on-sathorn-road-up-for-sale

Newsline: North Korean suspect in Jong-nam’s murder is son of ex-envoy to Vietnam

A North Korean suspect in the killing of Kim Jong-nam is reportedly the son of a former top North Korean envoy to Vietnam, and he allegedly lured a Vietnamese female suspect to join the plot to kill the estranged half-brother of North Korea’s leader. Ri Ji Hyon, 33, is the son of former North Korean ambassador to Hanoi, Ri Hong, and had lived in Vietnam for about 10 years, Yonhap news agency quoted sources as saying on Wednesday. Ji Hyon worked as a trainee diplomat at the North Korean embassy for more than one year and he also worked as an interpreter, according to the sources. Using his fluent Vietnamese, he lured Doan Thi Huong into the plot to kill Jong-nam while the latter was waiting to board a flight to Macau at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (KLIA2) on Feb 13, according to Yonhap. The Vietnamese woman and Indonesian Siti Aisyah allegedly smeared banned chemical weapon VX nerve agent on Jong-nam’s face. They have been charged with murder but they claim they were told that the act was a prank on a reality show. Ji Hyon is among four North Korean suspects who left Malaysia on the day Jong-nam was murdered and they are believed to have returned to Pyongyang. Interpol has issued a red notice to track down and arrest them.

http://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2017/03/22/north-korean-suspect-in-jong-nams-murder-is-son-of-ex-envoy-to-vietnam-report/

Newsline: Dying Interest By Media To Camp Outside North Korean Embassy in Malaysia

Scenes of local and foreign pressmen waiting outside the North Korean embassy to catch embassy officials for comments related to the murder of Kim Jong-nam is slowly diminishing. Pressmen feel there is no reason to wait outside the embassy because none of the embassy staff or its spokesman Ri Tong-il had issued any statements or talked to the media since Feb 18.

http://www.bernama.com.my/bernama/v8/ge/newsgeneral.php?id=1339775

Newsline: North Korean counselor tells Malaysian media not to take photos

The North Korean Embassy counsellor in Malaysia Kim Yu Song asked the media not to take pictures of him putting bins in front of the embassy. Yu Song, who speaks Malay fluently, said the media should ask permission in advance if they wanted to take pictures of him. “This is not good news. No need to publish them in the newspapers, understand? Don’t … don’t take. ‘If we agree on you taking our pictures, you must ask me, okay?” he told the media in front of the embassy here. Bernama photographer Zulfadhli Zulkarnain who was on duty when queried by Yu Song explained to him that they were just doing their job. Some local and International media practitioners who gathered in front the embassy did not miss the chance to take pictures of Yu Song together with two men carrying out a sofa to be disposed in front of the premises. The North Korean Embassy located in Bukit Damansara has become the focus of the media since the murder of Kim Jong Nam last month. Kuala Lumpur-Pyongyang relations were strained following the murder of Jong Nam, half-brother of the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 on Feb 13.

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2017/03/19/dont-take-photos-says-north-korean-counselor-to-media/

Newsline: Former Sri Lankan Ambassador to US released on bail

Former Sri Lankan Ambassador to the United States Jaliya Wickramasuriya who was held in remand custody for allegedly misappropriating funds allocated for purchasing a building for the Sri Lankan Embassy in USA, was ordered to be released on bail by Colombo Fort Magistrate. The suspect was ordered to be released on a cash bail of Rs.50,000 with two sureties of one million rupees by Magistrate Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne. He was further barred from leaving the country. The Financial Crimes and Investigations Division (FCID) alleged that the suspect had misappropriated the amount during the purchase of a building to house the Sri Lankan embassy at 3025, White Haven Street, Washington 20008.

http://www.sundaytimes.lk/article/1018681/former-sri-lankan-ambassador-jaliya-wickramasuriya-released-on-bail

Newsline: UK ambassador summoned in Indonesia over cruise ship crashing into coral reef

Indonesia has summoned the British ambassador in Jakarta after a cruise ship crashed into coral reefs off the coast of Indonesia earlier this month. The Caledonian Sky, a 4,200-tonne cruise ship, was on a voyage organised by a London company when it smashed into the reefs at low tide around Kri, one of hundreds of tiny islands in Raja Ampat, West Papua province. The region attracts many travellers and divers – those on the ship were on a bird-watching expedition – as it is one of the most biodiverse marine habitats on the planet. Luhut Pandjaitan, Indonesia’s coordinating minister for maritime affairs, summoned British ambassador Moazzam Malik to Jakarta on Friday. “I’m disappointed to learn about the damage to this coral reef in West Papua – as we are with any environmental incident that occurs in Indonesia or anywhere else in the world,” Malik told reporters following a meeting at Pandjaitan’s office. “We hope the matter can be resolved quickly between the Indonesian authorities and the company that is responsible for this accident.” Further damage to the coral reef was caused when numerous attempts to free the ship using a tug boat failed. The ship, carrying 79 crew members and 102 passengers, was later refloated during high tide. “He [the captain] attempted to break free from the reefs and made the damage even worse even though he was ordered to stop,” Pandjaitan said. The Indonesian government has said that the British captain piloting the ship could face criminal charges, while marine researchers have estimated that it could take decades and millions of dollars to restore the coral.

http://sea-globe.com/uk-ambassador-summoned-indonesia-cruise-ship-crashing-coral-reef/

Newsline: North Korean diplomat claims Malaysia killing was US, South Korean conspiracy

A North Korean diplomat says the killing of a man confirmed by Malaysian police to be the half brother of North Korea’s leader was a political conspiracy engineered by Washington and Seoul. Pak Myong Ho, a minister at North Korea’s embassy in Beijing, said Thursday the killing in Malaysia last month was a “despicable and extremely dangerous” plot by the U.S. and South Korea aimed at smearing North Korea’s image and subverting its regime. Pak said “indiscriminate claims of behind-the-scenes manipulation” would fail, referring to allegations by South Korea’s spy agency that North Korea masterminded the assassination. North Korea has demanded that Malaysia hand over the body and objected when it conducted an autopsy. It also has refused to acknowledge that the victim was the half brother of its leader.

http://lancasteronline.com/news/world/nkorea-diplomat-malaysia-killing-was-us-skorea-conspiracy/article_bc1cbe53-35c6-5293-95d1-6be6779cb5b9.html