Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for China

Newsline: Diplomatic spat between UK and China

A diplomatic spat between the UK and China deepened after London summoned the Chinese ambassador over what it said were “unacceptable and inaccurate” comments made by Beijing regarding the UK’s role in ongoing Hong Kong protests. (https://edition.cnn.com/2019/07/04/asia/china-uk-hong-kong-intl-hnk/index.html) Beijing has hit out at the UK over accusations of “interference” in the semi-autonomous Chinese city, after British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt expressed support for Hong Kong protesters and said London would stand by the city in preserving its limited democratic freedoms. Hundreds of thousands of Hong Kongers have taken to the streets in recent weeks over a proposed extradition bill with China critics fear would be used to go after political dissidents. On Monday, student protesters stormed and briefly occupied the city’s legislature, causing widespread damage to the building and its contents before retreating in the face of a large police clearance operation.


Newsline: UK summons Chinese ambassador over Hong Kong protests

The U.K. government summoned China’s ambassador for a dressing-down on Wednesday after Beijing officials accused Britain of meddling in Hong Kong’s affairs. The Foreign Office said Ambassador Liu Xiaoming was called to a meeting with British diplomatic service chief Simon McDonald over “unacceptable and inaccurate” comments relating to Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests. (http://www.startribune.com/uk-summons-chinese-ambassador-over-hong-kong-protests/512176502/) Liu accused British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt of interfering in Hong Kong’s affairs and supporting “violent lawbreakers.” At a news conference in London, he said that “the fundamental principle guiding our two countries is mutual respect, non-interference into internal affairs.” In Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said earlier that Hunt was “basking in the faded glory of British colonialism and obsessed with lecturing others.” The spat follows huge protests over a controversial extradition law that saw several hundred demonstrators storm the Hong Kong legislature and daub graffiti on the walls. Some raised the old British colonial flag in the legislative chamber on July 1, the 22nd anniversary of the territory’s return to Chinese rule.

Newsline: Muslim family dragged out of Belgian embassy in Beijing by Chinese police

A Muslim family was dragged out of the Belgian embassy in Beijing by Chinese police after Belgian officials allowed them to enter the building, it has emerged. A Belgian diplomat was expected to travel to China’s restive Xinjiang region on June 18 to try and confirm the whereabouts of the woman and her four children, who are members of the Uighur minority. (https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/06/18/muslim-family-dragged-belgian-embassy-beijing-chinese-police/) The woman’s husband, Adbulhamid Tursan, is a political refugee in Belgium. His wife, Horiyat Abula, and her four children travelled to Beijing at the end of May to complete missing paperwork for their family reunification visas. Mr Tursan said he had not heard from his family since May 31, a few days after they were extracted from the embassy after refusing to leave when they were told it would take at least three months for their visas to be approved. The embassy offered to escort the family back to their hotel, but they “refused to leave the embassy in a kind of sit-in”, a Belgian ministry spokesman said. In the end, Chinese police “escorted them away,”the spokesman said. Didier Reynders, Belgium’s foreign minister, said an embassy is not intended to “lodge people” applying for visas but added, “My only concern here is that we can reunite the family.”

Newsline: China summons U.S. diplomat to complain about Hong Kong remarks

China summoned a senior U.S. diplomat to lodge a formal complaint about U.S. comments on Hong Kong, after proposed U.S. legislation that would require the government to justify the continuation of special treatment for the territory. The bipartisan Senate legislation, sponsored by several senior senators, would require the U.S. secretary of state to issue an annual certification of Hong Kong’s autonomy to justify special treatment under the U.S. Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992. (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-hongkong-extradition-usa-congress/china-summons-u-s-diplomat-to-complain-about-hong-kong-remarks-idUSKCN1TF0XD) The proposed law, introduced by Republican Senator Marco Rubio and Democratic Senator Ben Cardin, would also require the U.S. president to identify those responsible for the abduction of booksellers and other individuals from Hong Kong and subject them to U.S. sanctions. The planned legislation comes amid a political crisis in the former British colony, where protests have boiled over against a proposed law that would allow extraditions to mainland China.

Newsline: Chinese ambassador warns Britain over blocking Huawei

China’s ambassador to London warned the British government that if Huawei is blocked from developing 5G networks then it will hurt Chinese trade and investment relationship with the United Kingdom. “It will send a very bad message not only to Huawei but also to Chinese businesses,” Ambassador Liu Xiaoming told the BBC. He added blocking Huawei would lead to “bad effects not only on trade but also on investment.” (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-huawei-tech-usa-britain-china/chinese-ambassador-warns-britain-over-blocking-huawei-bbc-idUSKCN1TE0K7) Britain’s National Security Council, chaired by Prime Minister Theresa May, met to discuss Huawei in April and a decision was made to block Huawei from all core parts of the 5G network but to give it restricted access to non-core parts. A final decision by the British cabinet of senior ministers was due to have happened in recent weeks but May’s pledge to step down as prime minister has stalled the process, sources said. She is expected to be out of office by the end of July.

Newsline: China mobilises diplomats to drum up global support ahead of G20

China’s ambassador to Indonesia has joined the chorus of Beijing’s diplomats to G20 nations trying to drum up support against US unilateralism ahead of the group’s Osaka meeting at the end of this month. In an article published in the Bisnis Indonesia newspaper on June 10, ambassador Xiao Qian called on Southeast Asian countries to support the “global trade order”. “The US abuse of tariff measures, and use of maximum pressure, are inconsistent with the principles of market competition and basic business ethics,” Xiao said. (https://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy/article/3013991/chinas-indonesia-diplomat-joins-calls-g20-support-against-us) Since the breakdown of trade talks and subsequent imposition of new tariffs in May, Beijing has launched harsh criticism of the United States via its ambassadors to G20 countries, including Britain and France, in a bid to avoid isolation by US allies in Osaka from June 28-29. Writing for London’s Evening Standard newspaper in May, Beijing’s envoy in London, Liu Xiaoming, implied that the US was the “real troublemaker” in the global economy for raising tariffs and instigating a trade war. “It is important that the international community stands firm and stands together at this darkest hour of protectionism so as to avert a looming ‘trade war’ and embrace the dawn of [the] world economy and trade,” Liu said. In Paris, ambassador Zhai Jun penned an article for Les Echos entitled “Protecting Multilateralism Requires Courage and Resolution”, chiding unnamed parties for “reversing history” through “unilateral bullying and maximum pressure”.

Newsline: Chinese special envoy to North Korea becomes ambassador to Japan

China has appointed its special envoy to North Korea, vice foreign minister Kong Xuanyou, as its ambassador to Japan, state media said on May 28. (https://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy/article/3012163/chinese-special-envoy-north-korea-kong-xuanyou-becomes) Kong, who has held the South Asia portfolio at the ministry, has been envoy to North Korea since 2017, although much of the diplomacy between Beijing and Pyongyang was handled by the Communist Party. Chinese media said Kong would take up his new position in Japan as successor to Cheng Yonghua. Kong’s replacement as special envoy to North Korea was not named. China and Japan have sparred frequently about their shared history. China has often accused Japan of not properly atoning for its invasion of China before and during the second world war.