Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for China

Newsline: Canada summons Chinese ambassador

Canada has launched an official protest against the interrogation of Michael Kovrig, the former Canadian diplomat detained in China, about his previous diplomatic work in the country, saying it violated the diplomatic immunity he is guaranteed under international law. As tensions between the two governments continued to intensify, officials in Ottawa on January 10 summoned China’s ambassador to Canada Lu Shaye to argue that Beijing must deport Kovrig or request a waiver of his diplomatic immunity, a move Ottawa would not agree to, according to a report published on Wednesday evening by The Globe and Mail. Lu, who accused Canada of “Western egotism and white supremacy” in an op-ed last Wednesday, was expected to address reporters later on Thursday. The latest protest comes amid strained relations over the arrest of Chinese technology executive Sabrina Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver on December 1, followed nine days later by China’s detentions of Kovrig – now an analyst at the Hong Kong-based International Crisis Group – and Canadian businessman Michael Spavor. While Meng has been released on bail, both Kovrig and Spavor remain in detention in China, with limited consular access.



Newsline: Attack on Chinese consulate in Karachi allegedly planned in Afghanistan

Police in Pakistan alleged that a deadly attack on the Chinese consulate in Karachi last year was planned in Afghanistan with the support of India’s spy agency – a claim India has denied. Karachi police chief Amir Shaikh also highlighted the grave security risks Beijing is facing over its ambitious investment scheme in the region. Five suspects – all from Pakistani separatist group the Balochistan Liberation Army – have been arrested in Karachi, Hub and Quetta over the attack, Shaikh told media on Friday, according to The Express Tribune. During the attack on November 23, three militants attempted to enter the Chinese consulate in Karachi but were shot dead by police at the checkpoint. Two police officers and two civilians were also killed during the exchange of fire. The BLA claimed responsibility for the attack.


Newsline: Chinese Consulate in Karachi attack mastermind killed in Afghanistan

Overseas Pakistani Baloch Unity chief Juma Khan Marri claimed that Aslam Baloch alias Achchu – alleged mastermind of BLA attack on Chinese Consulate in Karachi – along with his six companions died in Kandahar. In a social media post, Marri said that Aslam Baloch died in a suicide attack in Afghanistan. The BLA militants had on November 23 attacked the Chinese consulate in Clifton, Karachi, killing four people in an hour-long shootout. The victims included two policemen and two Pakistani civilians. No Chinese nationals were hurt in the attack. The three attackers were also killed. Aslam Baloch alias Achu, a commander of proscribed BLA, was seen as the mastermind of the attack on Chinese consulate.


Newsline: China urges U.S. to explain overseas embassy spying equipment

China urged the United States to offer clear explanations to the international community about why its overseas embassies had purchased spying equipment, as revealed by WikiLeaks. Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying made the remarks in response to documents made public by WikiLeaks last Friday showing that U.S. embassies in countries including El Salvador and Ukraine had purchased spying equipment. “Just a few days ago, the United States has mustered several of its allies to accuse China of undermining cybersecurity of the U.S. side over a long time,” Hua said. “The batch of documents made public by WikiLeaks serves as proof that the U.S. side may have self-directed a drama of blame-shifting again.” “The United States has carried out extensive wiretapping and surveillance activities worldwide, including on its allies, as revealed by the ‘Prism gate’ incident back in 2013,” Hua said. “The United States owes the rest of the world an explanation about what happened five years ago.” “As for what has been recently revealed by WikiLeaks, we urge the United States to offer clear explanations to the international community.” The spying equipment purchased by the United States, as made public by WikiLeaks, include recorders, hidden radio equipment and night-vision cameras to set in cars.


Newsline: China Holds Third Canadian, Escalating Diplomatic Crisis With the United States

The Chinese government has detained a third Canadian citizen, escalating a diplomatic crisis in which it is pushing the United States to relent on legal pressure against one of China’s leading technology companies. Canadian consular officials are providing assistance to the family of the latest detainee, a spokesman for Global Affairs Canada, the country’s foreign ministry, said. The spokesman declined to identify the detainee or provide more details. A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Hua Chunying, said at a regularly scheduled news conference in Beijing on Wednesday that the ministry had no information on the case. Chinese security agencies detained two other Canadians, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, on Dec. 10. Chinese officials have suggested in public comments that the agencies are looking into potential national security charges.

Newsline: Beijing and Taipei collide over consulate assistance in Australia

China’s offer of formal consular assistance to Taiwanese citizens involved in a fatal car crash near Perth earlier this week has provoked a diplomatic stand-off with Taipei’s officials in Australia. The move by Chinese officials has been described by diplomatic observers as “very unusual” and potentially a strategy by Beijing to assert Chinese sovereignty over Taiwan. The Taipei Economic and Cultural Office, representing Taiwan in Australia, said one Taiwanese tourist died and two were injured in a horrific head-on accident last Sunday involving three vehicles on Western Australia’s Indian Ocean Drive north of Lancelin. China’s consulate in Perth released a statement on Wednesday describing the “Taiwanese compatriots” as Chinese citizens, and noting an offer of formal ­assistance from Chinese consul-general Lei Kezhong. In order to establish relations with China, Canberra adopted a “one China” policy where it does not recognise Taiwan as a country or have formal relations with the self-governing territory, which China claims as its own. The move by China has provoked Taiwan’s representatives in Australia, who say they want to “reiterate” that the victims are Taiwanese and only their office has the formal credentials to offer consular assistance. They said, however, they were unable to prevent the moves by China’s diplomats.


Newsline: Canada’s ambassador to China meets with second detained Canadian

Canada’s ambassador to China has met with the second Canadian detained in China on suspicion of threatening national security, Canada’s foreign ministry said. The ministry said Ambassador John McCallum had met with Michael Spavor, a business consultant, two days after meeting with another detained Canadian, Michael Kovrig, a think tank employee. “Canadian consular officials continue to provide consular services to him and his family and will continue to seek further access to Mr Spavor,” the ministry said. China arrested two Canadians after Ottawa detained a senior executive from tech giant Huawei at the behest of the United States. “We are being absolutely clear on standing up for our citizens who have been detained, trying to figure out why, trying to work with China to demonstrate that this not acceptable,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau vowed to Toronto’s Citytv. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also branded the arrests “unacceptable”. Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer at Huawei, was released on bail in Vancouver Tuesday pending extradition to the US. She is accused of violating US sanctions on Iran. Beijing threatened Canada with “grave consequences” if she was not freed.