Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for June 13, 2022

Newsline: Chinese diplomat says South Pacific should not become US-China geopolitical ‘boxing ring’

The South Pacific should not become “a boxing ring” for the US-China rivalry, a senior Chinese diplomat has said, in a bid to ease rising concerns over Beijing’s recent push for a greater security and political presence in the region. The South Pacific, previously known as a battlefield for Beijing to choke Taiwan’s international space, has gained fresh prominence since Beijing signed a controversial security agreement with Solomon Islands in April, prompting backlash from the United States, Australia and Japan. In a state television interview, Xie Feng, vice foreign minister in charge of North American and Oceanian affairs, sought to defend the security pact and put a positive light on Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s trip to seven South Pacific nations early this month. Although Wang’s charm offensive failed to enlist the support for a broad security and trade deal from 10 South Pacific nations, Xie, who was also on the trip, said China “won heartfelt support” from the region. “They praised China from the bottom of their hearts as a good partner and true friend, promised to adhere to the one-China principle, and firmly believed that developing relations with China would help them stand on the right side of history,” he said. (https://finance.yahoo.com/news/dont-turn-south-pacific-us-093000567.html) Xie said cooperation with China had realised solid benefits for the region, from poverty reduction and climate change to infrastructure and agricultural development.

Newsline: State Department’s ‘special agents’ guard US diplomats in Ukraine

As most of the combat has shifted to the eastern and southern Ukraine, life in Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities has resumed. Foreign counties have started reopening their diplomatic missions in Ukraine despite the constant threat of Russian long-range strikes. The US has followed suit, reopening the US Embassy in Kyiv and appointing a new ambassador. Because the US is a major supporter of Ukraine’s government and military and because Russia remains a threat throughout Ukraine the reopened embassy, other diplomatic facilities, and Americans in the country could be targeted. As a result, the White House is considering sending US special operators to guard the facility. According to The Wall Street Journal, the State Department and the Department of Defense are weighing whether to send US special-operations teams to guard the US Embassy in Kyiv and to protect American diplomats in Ukraine. Any deployment of special operators would complement security teams from the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service. Insider understands that Diplomatic Security Service special agents are among the staff who have returned to Kyiv. (https://news.yahoo.com/while-white-house-mulls-sending-222700068.html) While the State Department is in “close touch” with the Pentagon regarding the security requirements for the reopened diplomatic mission in Kyiv, no decisions have been made about sending US troops to Ukraine to protect the embassy, the State Department says.

Newsline: Canada decries official’s visit to Russian embassy event

It was “unacceptable” for a Canadian official to have attended Russia Day celebrations at the country’s embassy in Canada, foreign affairs minister Melanie Joly said on Sunday. “No Canadian representative should have attended the event hosted at the Russian embassy and no Canadian representative will attend this kind of event again,” Joly said in a Twitter post. (https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/canada-decries-officials-visit-russian-embassy-event-2022-06-13/) A deputy protocol chief in Canada’s global affairs department, Yasemin Heinbecker, attended Friday’s event, along with representatives of Egypt, Pakistan and some African nations, the Globe and Mail newspaper said in a report.

Newsline: China’s envoy to Australia says two nations at ‘new juncture’

China’s ambassador to Australia says relations between the two countries are at a “new juncture” with the election of a new Australian government and the first minister-to-minister talks in more than two years. Ambassador Xiao Qian gave an upbeat assessment of the potential for the bilateral relationship in a weekend speech to the Australia-China Friendship Society in the west coast city of Perth. “The international, political and economic landscape is undergoing profound and complex changes. The China-Australia relationship is at a new juncture, facing many opportunities,” Xiao said. (https://www.newstimes.com/news/article/China-s-envoy-to-Australia-says-2-nations-at-new-17237264.php) The speech was published Monday on the embassy’s website.