Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for June 11, 2022

Newsline: North Korea appoints nuclear negotiator as first woman foreign minister

North Korea has named a top nuclear negotiator as the nation’s first female foreign minister, state media reported Saturday, amid warnings from the US that Pyongyang is preparing to conduct a nuclear test. (https://edition.cnn.com/2022/06/11/asia/north-korea-choe-son-hui-intl-hnk/index.html) Career diplomat Choe Son Hui was appointed at a plenary meeting of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea from June 8-10, overseen by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, state-run outlet KCNA said. Her appointment comes at a time of tension on the Korean Peninsula as North Korea aggressively ramps up its weapons testing program in defiance of United Nations sanctions. On Tuesday, US Special Representative for North Korea Policy Sung Kim warned that Washington believes North Korea is preparing to conduct a seventh nuclear test — which would be its first since 2017.

Newsline: Estonia summons Russian ambassador

Estonia summoned the Russian ambassador to condemn President Vladimir Putin’s “completely unacceptable” praise for an 18th century Russian ruler who captured a city that is now Estonian. Putin paid tribute on Thursday to Tsar Peter the Great, who he said had taken back territory that was Russia’s during a long war with Sweden from 1700 to 1721. Putin specifically mentioned Narva, which belongs to Estonia, one of the three Baltic States and a NATO member. Estonia’s foreign minister said Ambassador Vladimir Lipayev had been summoned “to condemn recent statements by President Putin … including his comments on the Estonian city of Narva,” it said in a statement. (https://news.yahoo.com/estonia-summons-russian-envoy-protest-184714984.html) Putin compared Peter’s campaign with the task facing Russia, which invaded Ukraine in February. Estonia was part of the Russian empire for more than two centuries before gaining its independence in 1918. In 1940 the Soviet Union annexed the country, which did not regain its independence until 1991.

Newsline: Japan eyes shift to ‘realistic’ diplomacy

Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida unveiled what he called a shift to “realistic” diplomacy on Friday to help his country tackle the dangers it faces in a world shaken by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. (https://finance.yahoo.com/news/japan-pm-kishida-unveils-shift-125037948.html) “The Kishida Vision for Peace will strengthen Japan’s diplomacy and security,” he said during a keynote speech at the start of the Shangri-La Dialogue, Asia’s premier security meeting, in Singapore.

Newsline: US man allegedly attempted to firebomb Chinese embassy

An Illinois man who traveled from Chicago was arrested for an alleged attempt to firebomb the Chinese embassy in Washington. Shortly after 7 a.m. on Thursday, a Secret Service officer was standing outside the embassy on International Place NW when a man approached the building, holding a glass beer bottle stuffed with a black cloth that he allegedly attempted to ignite, according to an affidavit from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. When the fabric failed to catch flame, the man, identified as Benjamin J. Grabinski, threw the bottle over the embassy’s gate, where it shattered. Within minutes, officers spotted Grabinski on a sidewalk about two blocks from the embassy. When he was detained and arrested, Grabinski allegedly told officers that he “tried to light it, but it didn’t work, so I just threw it.” (https://news.yahoo.com/illinois-man-allegedly-attempted-firebomb-185736414.html) About a week before, Grabinski had warned officers that he would attempt to firebomb the Chinese embassy. During the interaction, Grabinski told the officer that he had traveled from Chicago to show discontent for the Chinese government.