Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for China

Newsline: China summons German ambassador to Beijing

The Chinese Ambassador to Germany said on Wednesday that a recent meeting between the German foreign minister and Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong had sent “very negative signals.” Wu Ken confirmed that Beijing had officially summoned the German ambassador in protest, a fact that was also confirmed by Germany’s Foreign Ministry. “What happened now, I unfortunately have to say, will have negative consequences on bilateral relations and the Chinese side has to react,” said Wu. (https://www.dw.com/en/china-summons-german-ambassador-to-beijing/a-50386638)Wu claimed foreign forces had been involved in the ongoing protests in Hong Kong and reiterated his calls for foreign politicians to back off, saying: “China’s sovereignty and security must be respected. I therefore advise politicians against covering up violent crimes and meddling with Hong Kong’s and China’s internal affairs.” Wu also told reporters that Beijing had repeatedly asked Berlin to deny Wong entry to Germany.


Newsline: China’s Ambassador to South Africa Attacks Trump Over Trade

Lin Songtian, China’s ambassador to South Africa, took out a half-page advertisement in a key local newspaper to attack the stance of the U.S. and President Donald Trump on global trade. In a paid-for editorial in Business Day, South Africa’s biggest financial newspaper, Lin said bullying by the U.S. will drive the world into a “severe recession” and accused Trump of capriciousness. “The Chinese culture emphasizes that ‘gentlemen keep their words.’ Honoring the promises and commitments is the basic ethical code and requirement for state leaders and businessmen,” he said in the advert titled ‘Voice of China.’ His comments were also published in the Star newspaper. “The president of the U.S. runs his country according to his own will, dictates the world through Twitter and changes his position overnight,” Lin said. (https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-09-10/china-s-s-africa-ambassador-says-u-s-follows-law-of-the-jungle) The column, part of a drive by Beijing to have its ambassadors speak out globally, reflects the deteriorating relationship between the world’s two biggest economies.

Newsline: Canada accepts China’s nominee for ambassador after choosing its own envoy to Beijing

Canada has accepted the nomination of a new Chinese ambassador, Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland told reporters on Thursday, describing the move as a step forward amid a major dispute between the two nations. Her remarks are another indication that diplomatic relations might be warming up between the two nations after a crisis erupted last December. China, furious that Canadian police arrested a senior Huawei Technologies Co. executive on Dec. 1 on a U.S. warrant, has blocked imports of meat products and canola seed from Canada and charged two Canadian men with spying. Freeland was speaking a day after Ottawa unveiled business consultant Dominic Barton as its new envoy to Beijing, filling a post that had remained empty for eight months. Beijing recently nominated foreign ministry official Cong Peiwu to be the ambassador in Ottawa. “China has now announced its new ambassador to Canada, so this is a positive step,” Freeland told a televised news conference in Waterloo, Ontario. “Both countries now have new ambassadors who have been accepted. And that does give us another step forward in this relationship,” she continued. (https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2019/09/06/world/politics-diplomacy-world/canada-accepts-chinas-ambassador/#.XXJ1Po1RU8o) In Beijing, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang earlier said Cong would take up his post in due course. “China-Canada relations have encountered serious difficulties. The responsibility lies completely with the Canadian side, and Canada knows it clearly,” he told a regular media briefing. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday reiterated his government’s position that China’s detention of the two Canadians was unacceptable.

Newsline: Lithuania raps Chinese diplomats for role at pro-Hong Kong protest

Lithuania said on Monday it had lodged a protest to the Chinese embassy after some of its diplomats were involved in disruptions at a pro-Hong Kong protest in the capital Vilnius last month. Lithuania’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Chinese diplomats acted “in violation of public order” at the Aug. 23 event, which was organized to show solidarity with anti-Beijing protesters in Hong Kong. (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-lithuania-china/lithuania-raps-chinese-diplomats-for-role-at-pro-hong-kong-protest-idUSKCN1VN1GV) A police spokesman told Reuters that two Chinese citizens were detained and fined 15 euros ($17) each after people waving Chinese flags agitated at the protest. “We have information that some (Chinese) diplomats were more active than they should, and that is not acceptable,” Lithuania’s Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius told reporters, without giving further details or naming them.

Newsline: Canadian Consulate suspends travel to China for Hong Kong staff

The Canadian Consulate in Hong Kong said it has suspended travel to mainland China for local staff, just days after an employee of the city’s British Consulate was confirmed to have been detained in China. The Canadian Consulate, in an email to Reuters, did not provide a reason for the travel restrictions. (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-hongkong-protests-canada/canadian-consulate-suspends-travel-to-china-for-hong-kong-staff-idUSKCN1VD095) On Wednesday, China’s foreign ministry confirmed that Simon Cheng, an employee of the British mission, had been detained in the border city of Shenzhen neighboring Hong Kong. Hong Kong has been gripped by anti-government protests for weeks, with China accusing Britain and other Western countries of meddling in its affairs.

Newsline: Chinese diplomat known for Twitter outbursts given senior foreign ministry post

China’s former No 2 diplomat in Pakistan, known for taking to Twitter to defend his government in bellicose terms, has been handed a senior role in Beijing’s foreign ministry. (https://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy/article/3024180/chinese-diplomat-zhao-lijian-known-his-twitter-outbursts-given) Recently updated records on the foreign ministry’s website indicate that Zhao Lijian, who left his position as deputy chief of mission in Islamabad earlier this month, now serves as deputy director general of the ministry’s information department. In his new role, Zhao serves directly beneath the department’s newly appointed director general, Hua Chunying, and alongside fellow deputies Geng Shuang and Yu Dunhai. Both Hua and Geng regularly host ministry press conferences for domestic and international reporters, suggesting that Zhao may be in line to take on public-facing duties.

Newsline: Chinese embassy says ties with Canada suffering ‘gross difficulties’

China’s embassy in Canada says bilateral ties are suffering “gross difficulties” and is repeating its demand for Ottawa to release Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou. Relations have been icy since Meng was detained in Vancouver last December on a U.S. warrant. China has since charged two Canadians with spying and halted imports of canola seed and meat products from Canada. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday said his government had no intention of backing down in the dispute and would defend Canada’s interests. In a statement, the embassy said, “We will always defend Chinese and China’s interests, too … China-Canada relations now suffer gross difficulties and the Canadian side knows very well the root cause. (https://globalnews.ca/news/5798702/chinese-embassy-says-ties-with-canada-suffering-gross-difficulties/) “Canada should release Ms. Meng Wanzhou immediately and ensure her safe return to China, and bring bilateral relations back onto the right track,” the statement continued.