Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for May 6, 2022

Newsline: Russian foreign ministry summons UK ambassador over media sanctions

The Russian foreign ministry said on Friday it had summoned Deborah Bronnert, Britain’s ambassador to Russia, and strongly protested in relation to new UK sanctions on Russian media. The ministry said in a statement Russia would continue react “harshly and decisively” to all sanctions imposed by London. (https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/russian-foreign-ministry-summons-uk-ambassador-over-media-sanctions-2022-05-06/) Britain imposed sanctions on individual journalists and media organisations earlier in May in its latest wave of measures designed to increase pressure on Moscow to stop what it calls “a special military operation” in Ukraine.

Newsline: Japan’s government urged to rely on peaceful diplomacy to reduce China tensions

Japan should focus more on peaceful diplomacy with China instead of on military deterrence as tensions rise around Chinese-claimed Taiwan, the governor of the nearby southern Japanese island of Okinawa said Friday. “We are strongly alarmed,” Okinawa Gov. Denny Tamaki said of discussions in parliament about the possibility of a security emergency involving Taiwan, and concerns that Okinawa, 600 kilometers (370 miles) away, could become embroiled in it. (https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/okinawa-seeks-tokyos-lowering-tensions-china-84539788) Tamaki was speaking online from the prefectural capital of Naha ahead of the 50th anniversary of Okinawa’s return to Japan on May 15, 1972, 20 years after most of Japan regained independence from the U.S. occupation following World War II. There is concern in Okinawa, with its continuing heavy U.S. military presence, over rising tensions resulting from China’s increasingly assertive military actions in the region and its rivalry with the United States. There is also worry that the Russian invasion of Ukraine might embolden Beijing.

Newsline: India’s UN Ambassador told Dutch envoy ‘don’t patronise us’

India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador TS Tirumurti has told the Ambassador of the Netherlands to the UK that “Kindly don’t patronise us,” New Delhi “knows what to do” when the Dutch envoy said India should not have abstained in the UN General Assembly on Ukraine. In the tweet, the Dutch envoy said to Mr Tirumurti “You should not have abstained in the GA. Respect the UN Charter.” (https://www.msn.com/en-in/news/world/don-t-patronise-us-india-s-un-ambassador-to-the-dutch/ar-AAWYAEO) “Kindly don’t patronise us, Ambassador. We know what to do,” Mr Tirumurti said in response to a tweet by Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland Karel van Oosterom.

Newsline: U.S. Senate confirms Caroline Kennedy to be ambassador to Australia

The U.S. Senate on Thursday confirmed Caroline Kennedy, a former ambassador to Japan and daughter of the late President John F. Kennedy, as the U.S. ambassador to Australia, an important ally to the United States. (https://www.investing.com/news/politics/us-senate-confirms-caroline-kennedy-to-be-ambassador-to-australia-2818840) Kennedy, 64, is an author and attorney. Her father was the 35th president of the United States, who served from 1961 until his assassination in November 1963. She previously served as U.S. ambassador to Japan from 2013-2017 under former President Barack Obama. She heads to Canberra as its relationship with Washington strengthens in response to China’s growing power and increasingly assertive behavior in Asia and beyond. Like Japan, Australia is a member of the so-called Quad grouping, along with the United States and India, which has been expanding cooperation in the face of China’s rise. Kennedy succeeds Arthur Culvahouse, who left the position in early 2021, when former Republican President Donald Trump left office. Kennedy was one of a handful of nominees approved by voice vote on Thursday, along with Marc Nathanson to be ambassador to Norway, John Nkengasong to be ambassador at large to combat HIV-AIDS globally, MaryKay Loss Carlson as ambassador to the Philippines and Philip Goldberg as ambassador to South Korea.

Newsline: WHO members to consider shutting Europe hub office in Russia

World Health Organization states will consider a resolution against Russia next week after its invasion of Ukraine, including the possible closure of a major regional office in Moscow, a document obtained by Reuters showed. (https://news.yahoo.com/exclusive-members-consider-shutting-europe-140213852.html) The resolution, to be considered on Tuesday, stopped short of harsher sanctions such as suspending Russia from the U.N. global health agency’s board as well as a temporary freeze of its voting rights, three diplomatic and political sources said. The draft, prepared largely by EU diplomats and submitted to the WHO’s regional office for Europe this week, follows a request by Ukraine, signed by at least 38 other members including Turkey, France and Germany. The move is seen as a political step that would further Western efforts to isolate Moscow, rather than having any significant health consequences for Russia or global health policy, which diplomats said they were at pains to avoid.