Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for China

Newsline: Panama Opens First Embassy in China After Axing Taiwan Ties

Months after breaking ties with Taiwan, Panama has opened its first embassy in China’s capital of Beijing in what has been described as a “historic” move. Panama’s President Juan Carlos Varela hailed the move as “historic” and reiterated his commitment to the “One China” policy. Varela first considered axing diplomatic ties with Taiwan in 2006, shortly after he became leader of his party, but he didn’t make the move until June of this year. Varela, currently on a week-long visit to China, is due to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping. The two are expected to sign a number of agreements on everything from the economy to trade and tourism.



Newsline: Suspected anthrax powder at US consulate in Hong Kong false alarm

Hong Kong police have confirmed that a small amount of unidentified white powder found at the US consulate general was not hazardous substance. There is no reason to believe the powder was left by someone intentionally, the police said, calling the incident a misunderstanding. The incident took place at about 9 a.m. on Monday when the consulate opened to accept visa applications. An employee found some white powder in the groove of a service counter and reported it to the police, suspecting it might be anthrax, a deadly biotoxin. While waiting for the police to arrive, the consulate evacuated all applicants and suspended all visa-related services as a precaution. Specialists arrived at the complex in Central, along with firefighters and paramedics. The police later said the unidentified white powder was not hazardous. The material was taken away for tests. In a statement Monday, a spokesperson for the consulate said the incident has been resolved and apologized for the inconvenience caused to visa applicants and visitors. The consulate is open as usual Tuesday.


Newsline: Chinese embassy in Paris warns of security risks

The Chinese embassy in Paris on Saturday urged Chinese tourists to raise vigilance and take precautions following the mugging and attack on Chinese nationals. France has been faced with grim public security recently, and Paris region has reported a series of muggings and attacks against Chinese tourists and Chinese French, the embassy said in a statement posted on its website. A group of 40 Chinese tourists was attacked and robbed on Thursday by four men near a hotel in Val-de Marne, Paris suburbs, local media reported. The robbers sprayed the tourists with tear gas while they returned from their tour in the French capital. The assailants stole nine bags believed to be stuffed with luxury goods, according to local media reports. The group of Chinese tourists has returned to China on Friday.


Newsline: China fears envoy in Pakistan might be attacked, requests more security

The Chinese embassy in Pakistan has requested more security for its ambassador in the wake of information that he is likely to be attacked. Quoting sources, Express News reported that in a letter written to the interior ministry, the Chinese embassy has said that a terrorist had entered the country to attack Yao Jing. The embassy has requested the government to take immediate action on the intelligence information, and provide security to the ambassador.


Newsline: China summons British ambassador to Beijing

Beijing summoned London’s ambassador in a tit-for-tat protest stemming from Hong Kong’s denial of entry to a British human rights activist. The Chinese government decried “a raft of incorrect comments” coming out of London in recent days, in signs of increasingly strained Sino-British ties. Benedict Rogers was refused entry to the city upon arrival at Hong Kong International Airport on October 11. He was then put on a plane to Thailand, where he had just come from, and returned to London. He is deputy chairman of the British Conservative Party’s human rights commission and has long campaigned for rights and freedoms in Asia. He said Chinese representatives in Britain had earlier indirectly warned him against travelling to the city, fearing he would visit jailed pro-democracy activists, although he denied having such intentions.


Newsline: UK summons Chinese ambassador after human rights activist barred from entering Hong Kong

The UK Minister of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Mark Field says the Chinese ambassador has been summoned following the denial of entry of human rights activist Benedict Rogers to Hong Kong. Before his trip to Hong Kong, Rogers had received calls from a British MP acting as intermediary for the Chinese embassy warning him not to come. He said he had reassured the embassy that his trip was purely private, not in any official capacity, and he would not visit jailed activists. After he arrived in Hong Kong from Bangkok, Thailand last Wednesday, he was not allowed to meet his lawyer and was sent back on a plane.


Newsline: Chinese embassy in Singapore issues etiquette manual to its citizens arriving at Changi Airport

It’s fairly normal for friends and family to welcome visitors from abroad at the arrival terminal in airports. Imagine being greeted by embassy officials instead – with pamphlets on how to behave, no less. That’s what happened to Chinese tourists arriving at Singapore’s Changi Airport, according to South China Morning Post (SCMP). Embassy staff reportedly waited at Terminal 3 to hand out flyers listing do’s and don’ts. Some of these tips include a reminder to pay tips in cash and not via mobile payment, which is commonplace in China. Another piece of sound advice from the embassy is that airline goods such as blankets must not be removed from the plane. The flyer also reminds Chinese visitors to refrain from taking durian with them when using public transportation because of the fruit’s pungent smell. The embassy also made sure to caution its citizens against jaywalking, whistling during a show at the theatre as well as cutting in line when standing in queue.