Diplomatic Briefing

Your exclusive news aggregator handpicked daily!

Newsline: North Korean envoy’s remarks seen as insult to Malaysia

North Korean Ambassador to Malaysia Kang Chol, who has been summoned by Wisma Putra, made another allegation that Malaysia and South Korea were colluding with a political motive. Foreign Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman said in a press statement that the allegation was “a serious insult” to Malaysia as investigation into the murder of Kim Jong-nam had been carried out in accordance with the law in Malaysia. Anifah said Kang Chol’s press statement carried several allegations. These allegations were “culled from delusions, lies and half-truths” from which the ambassador concluded that “there could be someone else’s hand behind the investigation”, and that the “investigation by the Malaysian police is not for the clarification of the cause of the death and search of the suspect, but it is out of the political aim”. “When Foreign Affairs Ministrry summoned Kang, the Deputy Secretary-General for Bilateral Affairs emphasized that the police investigation had been done impartially without fear or favor. It was also conducted in compliance with Malaysian laws and regulations. Any allegation to the contrary is deeply insulting to Malaysia as the suggestion is that the Malaysian Government is colluding with a foreign government. Foreign Ministry summoned Kang for accusing the Malaysian government of “concealing information” after Kim Jong-nam’s death. Malaysia would be recalling its envoy in Pyongyang, Mohamad Nizam Mohamad to return home for consultation. Kang Chol, in an impromptu press conference held outside the North Korean Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, accused Malaysia for a second time.

http://www.mysinchew.com/node/117010

Newsline: Mexican consulates become welcome ally for anxious immigrants in US

First came the anxious calls in the days after the election of President Donald Trump. Now, people begin lining up before 8am and crowd the waiting rooms inside the Mexican Consulate in Los Angeles. Mexican citizens come to renew passports that have been unused for more than a decade. They desperately ask lawyers if they can do anything to help them stay in the United States. They register their children for Mexican citizenship, just in case they are sent back and decide to move their whole family with them. When the consulate began to get reports of dozens of Mexicans being arrested by immigration officials last week, they immediately dispatched lawyers to the federal detention centre downtown. These are demanding times for the 50 Mexican consulates scattered throughout the United States. With Trump’s promise to crack down on immigrants living in the United States illegally and an executive order that vastly expands who is considered a priority for deportation, Mexicans living in the United States illegally are increasingly on edge. And consulates are moving quickly to help. As official representatives of the Mexican government in the United States, the consulates can provide legal guidance and resources for people and families dealing with immigration issues. Mexicans make up about half of the country’s 11 million immigrants living in the country illegally. The relationship between Mexico and the United States is at its lowest point in years. Mexican officials say they are eager to keep families living in the United States together. There are economic concerns too: Mexicans living abroad send more than $25 billion back home, with most of the money coming from the United States, according to Mexico’s central bank.

http://gulfnews.com/news/americas/usa/mexican-consulates-become-welcome-ally-for-anxious-immigrants-1.1980392

Newsline: Vitaly Churkin, Russia’s U.N. Ambassador, Dies at 64

Vitaly I. Churkin, the Russian ambassador to the United Nations, died “suddenly” while at work in New York on Monday morning, the Russian government announced, without offering details about the cause of death. He would have been 65 on Tuesday. The deputy Russian ambassador, Petr Iliichev, said in brief remarks at a United Nations meeting on Monday that Mr. Churkin had been in the office “until the final moments.” Mr. Churkin had not been at Security Council meetings often recently, but he brushed off reporters’ questions last week about his health. Mr. Churkin, something of a legend in diplomatic circles, was a former child actor who could be caustic and wry in equal measure in his exchanges with American counterparts. He had formerly worked as a translator, and as ambassador he sometimes became visibly annoyed with United Nations translators who could not keep up with his rapid rat-a-tat speaking style. He began his career in the Soviet era, served as spokesman for the Foreign Ministry under Mikhail S. Gorbachev and represented Russia at the United Nations in recent years as relations with the United States soured, first over Libya and then over the crises in Syria and Ukraine. In an interview in October, Mr. Churkin said the last time Russian-American relations were so strained was more than four decades ago, when the Arab-Israeli conflict nearly brought the two Cold War powers to a military confrontation. At his death, he was the longest-serving ambassador on the United Nations Security Council, and he sometimes jokingly referred to himself as the “permanent representative,” the formal title for each member nation’s top envoy to the United Nations. Mr. Iliichev, his deputy, described him as a “strong negotiator, wonderful individual, a teacher.” News of Mr. Churkin’s sudden death sent a ripple of shock across the diplomatic community. He was widely seen as a deft diplomat, skilled at using the rules and protocol of the United Nations system to his country’s advantage, including Russia’s veto in the Security Council. He wielded that veto to block six resolutions that would have punished the government of Syria, Moscow’s staunch ally, and met every Western criticism of Russia’s conduct in the Syrian conflict with retorts about the Western role in Yemen and elsewhere.

Newsline: Malaysia recalls ambassador to North Korea

Malaysia recalled its envoy from Pyongyang and summoned North Korea’s ambassador in Kuala Lumpur to explain his accusations that Malaysian authorities were colluding “with external forces” over the investigation into the slaying of leader Kim Jung Un’s estranged half-brother. Footage from airport cameras purportedly showing the assault on the half-brother of the North Korean leader emerged on Monday as a diplomatic row between Malaysia and North Korea escalated over the handling of a probe into the killing of Kim Jong Nam. Malaysian police are hunting four North Koreans who fled the country on the day of the attack, having already detained one North Korean man, a Vietnamese woman, an Indonesian woman, and a Malaysian man. At least three of the wanted North Koreans caught an Emirates flight to Dubai from Jakarta late on the same day, an immigration office official in the Indonesian capital told Reuters. Malaysia’s Star newspaper reported that all four had returned to Pyongyang. South Korean and U.S. officials have said the killing was probably carried out by North Korean agents.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-northkorea-malaysia-kim-idUSKBN15Z06L

Newsline: Swedish Embassy asks the US to explain Trump comment on Sweden

Swedish Embassy in Washington asked US President Donald Trump to clarify what he meant when he alluded to a major security event that recently took place in the Scandinavian nation, local media reported Sunday. Speaking in Florida about a rise in terror attacks in Europe on Saturday, Trump referred to Sweden, who had taken in large numbers of refugees, saying “When you look at what’s happening last night in Sweden.” “We want clarity on what it was about. We are wondering what he referred to,” Swedish Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Catarina Axelsson told the local TT news agency. The remark caused confusion in Swedish media, with some outlets publishing lists of what could have possibly gone wrong in the country on that day. It has also brought to life #LastNightInSweden hashtag mocking the comment and rapidly gaining popularity in Twittersphere.

https://sputniknews.com/europe/201702201050848535-sweden-trump-what-happened-there/

Newsline: US Ambassador’s Gift to Somali President Leads to Confusion

Controversy is surrounding a meeting between U.S. Ambassador to Somalia Stephen Schwartz, who was appointed by former president Barack Obama, and new Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo. The controversy is not so much about the meeting but what happened during the photo opportunity when Schwartz gave Farmajo a hat bearing a slogan that appears to be derived from President Donald Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.” After the meeting, the Twitter account of the U.S. Mission tweeted about the meeting posting a message that read, “US2SOM Amb Schwartz had a fruitful mtng w Pres Farmaajo 2day + presented the Pres with a cap “MAKE SOM GREAT AGAIN.” The photo attached with the message shows the two men shaking hands and holding the hat. Most Twitter users thought the gift was a diplomatic misstep; others were harsher and said the timing for such a message was inappropriate because of Trump’s recent immigration travel ban that affected seven Muslim-majority nations, including Somalia.

http://www.voanews.com/a/us-ambassador-gift-to-somali-president/3730709.html

Newsline: Afghanistan summons Pakistan’s ambassador over shelling

Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned Pakistan’s ambassador to Afghanistan on Saturday in protest against recent cross-border shelling, according to a ministry statement. Deputy Foreign Minister Hekmat Khalil Karzai summoned Ambassador Abrar Hussain to denounce the shelling by Pakistani forces following a spate of terrorist attacks in Pakistan, including a suspected suicide bombing at a Sufi shrine in southern Sindh province that left more than 80 people dead Thursday. Pakistani military had pointed fingers at Afghanistan hours after the shrine blast. Spokesman Maj. Gen. Asif Ghafoor tweeted Thursday that recent terrorist acts were being executed “on directions from hostile powers and from sanctuaries in Afghanistan. We shall defend and respond.” Later, pro-military media outlets in Pakistan reported that Pakistani military had destroyed alleged terror training camps inside Afghanistan’s Nangarhar and Kunar provinces. However, Afghan officials said the cross-border shelling had killed a women and her son apart from leaving several civilians injured and forcing tens of families to flee their homes. On Friday, Pakistan’s military spokesman tweeted that Afghan embassy officials had been called in at army headquarters and given a list of “76 terrorists” said to be hiding in Afghanistan. The officials were asked to take immediate action against them.

http://aa.com.tr/en/asia-pacific/afghanistan-summons-pakistans-ambassador-over-shelling/753240