Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for June 7, 2022

Newsline: US diplomat promises ‘swift and forceful’ response to a North Korean nuclear test

A nuclear test by North Korea will prompt a “swift and forceful response,” a senior U.S. diplomat said in Seoul on Tuesday, according to the Yonhap News Agency. North Korea would face unified action by several countries should it detonate a nuclear device in violation of existing U.N. Security Council resolutions, Wendy Sherman, deputy secretary of state, told reporters, according to Yonhap. Starting in 2006, the Security Council imposed a broad range of economic sanctions on the North for developing nuclear weapons and conducting ballistic missile tests. “The entire world will respond in a strong and clear manner,” Sherman said, according to the Yonhap report. “We are prepared.” (https://www.stripes.com/theaters/asia_pacific/2022-06-07/north-korea-nuclear-test-missiles-6258709.html) She traveled to Seoul on Monday as part of a 10-day tour of the Indo-Pacific region that includes meetings with officials from South Korea, Japan, the Philippines, Vietnam and Laos. Sherman’s comments come as U.S., South Korean and Japanese government officials warn that the communist regime may soon conduct its seventh nuclear weapons test and its first since 2017.

Newsline: US Says China Fabricated Quotes From Diplomats

The US hit back at China over a social media post, saying the behavior puts Washington’s envoys at risk. A spokesperson for the US Embassy in Beijing said Tuesday that China should “stop attributing false statements to US officials or taking other actions that might subject our diplomats to harassment.” (https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-06-07/us-says-china-fabricated-quotes-from-diplomats-on-xinjiang) The disputed post claimed American officials in Guangzhou downplayed allegations of human rights abuses in Xinjiang.

Newsline: China’s Top Diplomat Says New, Old China-Japan Problems Intertwined

Old problems in China-Japan relations are intertwined with new ones, and the challenges cannot be ignored if the countries wish to have a “healthy” relationship, China’s top diplomat said on Tuesday. A foreign ministry statement said Yang Jiechi, who spoke with Japanese national security chief Takeo Akiba on the phone, said both nations should “grasp the right direction, uphold win-win cooperation, focus on the long term, enhance security and build mutual trust”. Yang, the director of the Central Foreign Affairs Commission Office for China, said both countries should work together to ensure “stable, healthy and resilient” relations in the next 50 years, and “jointly maintain regional peace and prosperity”. (https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2022-06-07/chinas-top-diplomat-says-new-old-china-japan-problems-intertwined) This year marks the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations for China and Japan.

Newsline: Summit of the Americas deals diplomatic blow as Mexico’s president declines to attend

As the high-profile Summit of the Americas got underway Monday in Los Angeles, with presidents and prime ministers from throughout the Western Hemisphere expected to attend, confusion continued to surround the agenda, what President Biden hopes to achieve and whether U.S.-Latin American relations will be better or worse as a result. After weeks of coy, maybe-maybe-not flirtation with attending the conference, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, arguably the most important Latin American leader on the guest list, finally announced Monday morning that he was staying home. López Obrador was protesting the Biden administration’s decision to exclude Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela, and others followed suit: Honduras, the administration’s closest ally in Central America, sent a lower-level delegation, Uruguay’s president said he had contracted COVID-19, and Bolivia also declined to attend. (https://news.yahoo.com/summit-americas-hobbles-opening-mexicos-021247907.html) Even veteran Latin American specialists who have attended several of the regional conferences over the past three decades were exasperated, noting that the Biden administration only belatedly turned to the summit and potential agenda, along with its opportunity for progress and brighter relations in the hemisphere. Some suggested the summit was so behind the ball in planning that it would have been better to cancel than to conduct the conference in a half-baked way.