Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for July 2, 2022

Newsline: China’s top diplomat visits Myanmar

China’s top diplomat on Saturday arrived on his first visit to Myanmar since the military seized power last year to attend a regional meeting that the government said was a recognition of its legitimacy and opponents protested as a violation of peace efforts. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi will join counterparts from Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam in a meeting of the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation group in the central city of Bagan, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Military government spokesman Maj. Gen. Zaw Min Tun told a news conference in the capital Naypyitaw on Friday that the attendance of the foreign ministers at the meeting was a recognition of Myanmar’s sovereignty and its government. (https://apnews.com/article/china-diplomacy-myanmar-global-trade-) The grouping is a Chinese-led initiative that includes the countries of the Mekong Delta, a potential source of regional tensions due to an increasing number of hydroelectric projects that are altering the flow and raising concerns of ecological damage. China has built 10 dams along the upper stretch of the Mekong, the part it calls the Langcang.

Newsline: Chinese embassy told Canada not to interfere in Hong Kong affairs

The Chinese embassy in Ottawa has urged Canada not to interfere in Hong Kong affairs after Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly said the city’s freedom was being suppressed. In a statement on Friday, the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to Chinese rule, the embassy said external forces should not make “irresponsible remarks”. “The so-called deep ties between Canada and Hong Kong cannot be a reason for Canada to interfere in Hong Kong affairs,” it said. The embassy said the efforts “will not shake China’s firm determination to fully and accurately implement one country, two systems and China’s safeguarding of national sovereignty.” (https://finance.yahoo.com/news/dont-interfere-hong-kong-affairs-093000795.html) On Thursday, Joly said Canada had direct ties with Hong Kong, with an estimated 300,000 Canadians living in the city and more than 100 Canadian companies with a presence there. She said freedom of speech and peaceful expression of alternative views had been suppressed over the past two years with the imposition of a national security law in Hong Kong. “Canada urges the People’s Republic of China and Hong Kong authorities to adhere fully to the one country, two systems framework set out in Hong Kong’s Basic Law, which also took effect 25 years ago,” she said.

Newsline: Chinese embassy in Washington announces loosening entry restrictions on U.S. citizens

China will loosen entry restrictions on U.S. citizens, allowing entrance in case of transit via a third country, notices issued late on Friday by the Chinese embassy in Washington said, relaxing rules imposed in Beijing’s drive to curb COVID-19. According to an updated policy statement, U.S. citizens with valid negative COVID test results looking to enter China may now apply for and receive a green health code for travel in from either the United States or a third country. (https://news.yahoo.com/china-loosen-entry-restrictions-u-012030208.html) In the past, the embassy would only grant the codes to U.S. citizens flying directly from the United States. China has loosened the same restrictions recently for citizens of other countries. The restrictions, coupled with a limited number of direct flights from the United States to China, caused ticket prices to cost as much as $10,000. China’s “dynamic COVID zero” policy, which aims to minimise the risk of infected travellers arriving from abroad, has resulted in many barriers to international travel, from restrictions on the issue and renewal of passports for Chinese citizens to tough quarantine requirements upon arrival.