Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for China

Newsline: Dominican Republic opens Beijing embassy after dropping Taiwan

The Dominican Republic opened its embassy in Beijing Saturday, months after cutting ties with Taiwan amid a Chinese diplomatic offensive that aims to politically isolate the island it claims as its own territory. Speaking at a ribbon-cutting ceremony, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the Caribbean island nation’s decision to switch diplomatic relations to Beijing “serves the fundamental interests of the Dominican people and completely conforms to the trend of the times.” Also present was Dominican President Danilo Medina, who met with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday. Both the Dominican Republic and El Salvador broke diplomatic ties with Taiwan earlier this year as Beijing steps-up up diplomatic and economic pressure on Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, who has refused to endorse its stand that Taiwan is a part of China. Only 17 mainly small, developing countries still recognize Taiwan as a sovereign nation.



Newsline: Injuries of US diplomats in China differ from those in Cuba

Fourteen of 15 U.S. diplomats pulled from China for medical testing this year have been found not to have the same set of injuries as personnel evacuated earlier from Cuba, the State Department said Wednesday. The department said 14 of the 15 brought to the U.S. for medical testing earlier this year did not present the “constellation” of symptoms suffered by more than two dozen diplomats in Cuba that it blames on mysterious health attacks. Results for the 15th were inconclusive, it said. The diagnosis of an initial patient from China found to have Cuba-like injuries stands. But the new findings may ease fears that whatever affected the diplomats in Havana has spread. In May, a diplomat posted in China was confirmed to have Havana-like symptoms, sparking fears the alleged Cuba attacks had also occurred on another continent. Some 300 diplomats and family members in China sought preliminary testing from State Department medical staff. Fifteen of them were identified as needing additional evaluation in the U.S. The Havana Cohort is the name given to the group of 26 Cuba-based diplomats who the department says suffered injuries, including dizziness, headaches and mild brain damage, from the alleged mystery attacks for which the specific cause and culprit are still unidentified. U.S. officials have not blamed Cuba for the alleged attacks but hold Cuba responsible for the safety of American government personnel on the island. The State Department has dramatically reduced its staff at the embassy in Havana.


Newsline: China summons US ambassador over sanctions move

China’s foreign ministry on Saturday summoned the U.S. ambassador to deliver a strong protest against economic sanctions lodged over the purchase of Russian fighter jets and surface-to-air missile equipment. The ministry’s statement issued via state media gave no details, although the ministry earlier demanded the sanctions be revoked. China’s purchase of the weapons from Rosoboronexport, Russia’s main arms exporter, violated a 2017 law intended to punish the government of Russian President Vladimir Putin for interfering in U.S. elections and other activities. The action triggers a visa ban on China’s Equipment Development Department and director Li Shangfu, forbids conducting transactions with the U.S. financial system and blocks all property and interests in property involving the country within U.S. jurisdiction.


Newsline: China opens embassy in Dominican Republic after it deserts Taiwan

China’s most senior envoy inaugurated a new embassy in the Dominican Republic on Friday after the Caribbean country cut ties with Taiwan in a move that prompted US concern over the island’s dwindling number of allies. Self-ruled Taiwan, which China claims as its own, now has formal relations with only 17 countries, almost all of them small and less developed nations in Central America and the Pacific, including Belize and Nauru. “We have witnessed a historic breakthrough,” said Chinese State Councillor Wang Yi, the government’s top diplomat, in an speech televised by Chinese state media. Along with the Dominican Republic’s decision in May, Panama and El Salvador have also switched recognition to Beijing in the past two years. The United States recalled its top diplomats from those countries and warned that China was offering economic incentives in a bid for domination.


Newsline: Chinese Embassy in Sweden issues safety alert

The Chinese Embassy in Sweden issued a safety alert. According to the safety alert, recently, there are more cases where Chinese tourists have been victims of theft and robbery, as well as cases where victims were treated poorly by Swedish police. China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Chinese Embassy in Sweden said they are concerned about the safety and legitimate rights of Chinese citizens visiting the country. In the announcement, the embassy urged Chinese citizens in Sweden to increase their safety awareness and strengthen safety precautions. In the event of an emergency, evidence should be also collected while ensuring safety. It also stated that Chinese citizens are urged to immediately call the police and contact the Chinese Embassy in Sweden for help.


Newsline: China’s ambassador says US officials ‘don’t have sufficient common sense’

As a tit-for-tat trade war between the world’s top two economies prepares for a new round of tariffs, China’s ambassador to the United States, Cui Tiankai, said that Beijing would not give in to intimidation and coercion from Washington. His sometimes blunt remarks came as trade tensions look set to escalate further following reports that US President Donald Trump intends to move ahead with the imposition of tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports as soon as next week. In a speech on Thursday at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington-based think tank, Cui admitted that US-China relations were facing “a big problem” and said there was good reason to be worried about their increasing geopolitical competition and rivalry.


Newsline: China’s embassy in Washington mulls legal action against ambassador’s fake Twitter account

“Chinese Ambassador Cui Tiankai has never opened an account with Twitter,” the embassy said in a statement on Sunday. “Any current Twitter accounts opened in the Ambassador’s name or with his photo are fake.” The embassy added that it might “pursue legal actions against the counterfeiters”. The fake account was started last week with the handle @CTiankai and carried the ambassador’s full name under his photo. It also included a profile biography saying: “Chinese diplomat and currently the Chinese ambassador to the United States”, although it did not link to the embassy’s website. A screen shot of the account showed that in about one week it had attracted nearly 700 followers and included several general comments about US-China relations attributed to Cui. An embassy spokeswoman told the South China Morning Post on Monday that “any unauthenticated accounts are all fake.” The embassy declined to say whether its personnel or Cui himself asked Twitter to take down the account, which was suspended as of Monday. No Chinese government officials have authenticated accounts on Twitter, which is blocked in China along with Facebook and other US social media platforms.