Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for China

Newsline: China opens embassy after Burkina switches from Taiwan

China opened its new embassy in the Burkina Faso capital of Ouagadougou on Thursday after the Sahel state stunned Taiwan by switching diplomatic ties to Beijing. The official opening comprised the unveiling of a plaque in an upmarket hotel where the embassy is being housed temporarily while a new building for it is constructed. “Today is a historic day,” declared Vice Prime Minister Hu Chunhua, who led a major delegation to Ouagadougou to oversee the event. “As of today, the embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Burkina Faso is open,” Mr Hu said, describing the mission as the “driver of Chinese-Burkinabe friendship”.



Newsline: China’s embassy goes all out to help tourist after boats capsize in Thailand

China’s embassy in Thailand has vowed full efforts to help in search and rescue efforts after two vessels carrying Chinese tourists capsized off the Thai island of Phuket. The two boasts with 127 Chinese tourists were hit by massive waves in a rainstorm, said the embassy. Ambassador Lu Jian, who is now in China, has directed the embassy and Consulate-General in Songkhla to do their best. The embassy’s working group is coordinating search and rescue work with Thai authorities. The embassy also opened hotlines (0066-642351752 and 0066-820367651) and vowed to provide all necessary assistance to the Chinese tourists and their families. The embassy also urged Thailand to investigate the cause of the accident in a timely manner.


Newsline: Chinese ambassador calls on Australia to drop ‘Cold War mentality’

China’s ambassador to Australia said on Tuesday “less bias and bigotry” was needed to repair bilateral relations amid concerns over Chinese influence in Australia and its use of loans to build leverage over poorer South Pacific island nations. “We need to see each other’s development and policy intentions from a more positive perspective with less Cold War mentality,” Cheng Jingye said in a speech to politicians and business leaders in Canberra. Relations between Canberra and Beijing have soured since Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull accused China late last year of meddling in domestic affairs, and as concern at China’s influence in the region has grown. Editorials in Chinese state media, including the China Daily and the Global Times, on Tuesday accused Australia of arrogance and taking a “distorted view on relations”.


Newsline: Mystery illness strikes U.S. embassy workers in China, leading to evacuations

A crisis over a mysterious ailment sickening U.S. diplomats and their families — which began in Cuba and recently appeared in China — has widened as the State Department evacuated at least two more Americans from China on Wednesday. The Americans who were evacuated worked at the U.S. Consulate in the southern city of Guangzhou, and their colleagues and family members are being tested by a State Department medical team, officials said. It is unclear how many of them are exhibiting symptoms, but officials expect more U.S. personnel to be evacuated. For months, U.S. officials have been worried that their diplomats have been subjected to targeted attacks involving odd sounds, leading to symptoms similar to those “following concussion or minor traumatic brain injury,” the State Department says. The cases in China have broadened a medical mystery that started in 2016, when U.S. Embassy employees and their family members began falling ill in Havana. In all, 24 of them were stricken with headaches, nausea, hearing loss, cognitive issues and other symptoms after saying they heard odd sounds. The issue has roiled relations with Cuba, which immediately fell under suspicion, and led the United States to expel Cuban diplomats. But with Americans now exhibiting similar symptoms in Guangzhou, U.S. officials have raised suspicions about whether other countries, perhaps China or Russia, might be to blame.


Newsline: Dead body of Chinese national found in embassy in Pakistan

The staff at Chinese embassy here on Sunday night found a days-old dead body of a Chinese national from his room in the embassy premises, according to the police.
Counsellor Chinese Embassy in Pakistan, Shen Zicheng shifted the dead body of Yan Peng to PIMS, and told the hospital staff that it was recovered from his room after a foul smell started coming out of it. “The room was unlocked and Yan Peng was lying dead,” he told the police later. He was of the view that the deceased apparently met natural death. The deceased was working in the Embassy as a construction engineer. The body is believed to be 12 days old and the cause of death could not be ascertained. The matter was immediately brought into the notice of deputy commissioner ICT, according to the officials. The Counsellor told the Secretariat police that the deceased used to stay inside the embassy premises.


Newsline: Diplomat says China shunned Australia’s minister

China rejected a request for a senior bilateral meeting during a recent visit by Australia’s trade minister, a high-ranking diplomat said on Thursday, as relations between the two major trading partners fray. Frances Adamson, secretary of Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), told a parliamentary committee that Trade Minister Steven Ciobo met with the mayor of Shanghai during his visit in mid-May, after an attempt to meet with his ministerial counterpart was rebuffed. “We indicated to the Chinese that a meeting with Mr Ciobo’s counterpart would have been welcomed,” Adamson said on Thursday during a scheduled parliamentary briefing. “He would have been willing to travel to Beijing for a meeting with his Chinese counterpart if that had been possible.” Relations between the two trading partners have been severely tested just two years into a free trade pact amid moves by Australia to limit foreign influence, spurring legislation banning foreign political donations.


Newsline: China’s Weibo microblogging site deletes posts by embassies

Sina Weibo, China’s most popular microblogging site, is censoring foreign embassies’ posts on topics ranging from US-North Korea relations to stock market regulation, according to research, including selectively deleting comments to make their authors appear more pro-China. Sina Weibo, which has more than 411m monthly active users — more than Twitter — sometimes deletes embassies’ posts outright. But it also uses more subtle methods such as stopping them from being re-shared or disabling comments. A report by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, a Canberra think-tank, counts the US embassy as the most censored diplomats, with 28 posts interfered with in the three months to January. France and Cuba came next, with 12 and five instances respectively, while several other embassies — such as the British — suffered one instance.