Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for July 5, 2022

Newsline: Moscow to name land outside British embassy after separatist republic in eastern Ukraine

A strip of land outside the British Embassy in Moscow will be named after the self-proclaimed separatist Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) in eastern Ukraine following an online poll, the city administration said in a statement on its website. (https://news.yahoo.com/moscow-name-land-outside-british-142449284.html) Last month, an intersection near the U.S. embassy was named “Donetsk People’s Republic Square” after another Russian-backed breakaway state in Ukraine, also recognised only by Russia and Syria. The United States and Britain have been among the biggest critics of Russia’s actions in Ukraine.

Newsline: Top diplomats of China and Vietnam vow to talk

Senior diplomats from China and Vietnam have vowed to hold more high-level talks and to view their bilateral relationship as a diplomatic priority as Beijing faces heightened US efforts to boost ties with its regional alliance. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his Vietnamese counterpart, Bui Thanh Son, met on the sidelines of a Mekong River cooperation meeting in Myanmar. Wang said China and Vietnam should keep up strategic communication. “As socialist friendly neighbours, important forces in emerging markets and developing countries, China and Vietnam share highly consistent common strategic interests,” a Chinese foreign ministry statement quoted Wang as saying. “China and Vietnam should share opportunities, seek common development, maintain stability and create prosperity.” (https://finance.yahoo.com/news/china-vietnam-vow-talk-more-093000965.html) Son was quoted as saying that Vietnam always regarded relations with China as its top diplomatic priority and was willing to maintain high-level talks and achieve a “breakthrough” in cooperation. But Son also put forward conditions for improving China-Vietnam relations. A report by Vietnam News Agency said Son demanded that China create favourable conditions for the export of Vietnamese products and resume commercial flights between the two nations which have been affected by tighter border controls brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Newsline: Indonesia’s Shuttle Diplomacy Can Be More Than Empty Miles

Mediation attempts will struggle while Russia remains unrepentant on its war in Ukraine. But “strategically neutral” nations can and must play a role in ending this conflict. Indonesian President Joko Widodo visited Kyiv and Moscow last week, offering to be a diplomatic bridge between the two. The first Asian leader to make the trip to both capitals since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, he made a few headlines, but no real progress. (https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2022-07-04/indonesia-s-shuttle-diplomacy-on-ukraine-russia-can-be-more-than-empty-miles) Critics saw the journey as image politics. And yet, Widodo’s not wrong to see a role for states outside the wealthy world in helping to resolve a crisis that has punished emerging markets, particularly those that are also importers of food, fertilizer and fuel, like Indonesia. Southeast Asia’s most populous country is well placed to act. It has historic political and military ties to Russia and economic connections with Ukraine; it also holds this year’s presidency of the G20 and next year’s chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. It has a strong diplomatic presence to back any initiative. Even small-scale success, however, requires ambition and a concerted push for more than empty Kremlin promises.

Newsline: Canadian embassy says its officials were denied access to trial of billionaire in China

Chinese authorities have blocked Canadian government representatives from attending the trial of Chinese-Canadian billionaire Xiao Jianhua, the Canadian embassy said on Tuesday. “Canada made several requests to attend the trial proceedings,” public diplomacy counsellor at the embassy, Nadia Scipio del Campo, said in an emailed statement sent to reporters. “Our attendance was denied by Chinese authorities.” When asked for further details such as to confirm the location of the trial, the embassy said it would not comment further due to privacy considerations. (https://news.yahoo.com/canada-says-officials-were-denied-041204400.html) Xiao, who went missing in Hong Kong five years ago, was due to go on trial in China on Monday and Canadian consular officials had been pressing for consular access, the embassy said earlier in a statement.

Newsline: US and Russian ambassadors to China clash at Beijing forum

The US and Russian ambassadors clashed over Ukraine in a rare joint appearance in Beijing. Nicholas Burns, the United States ambassador, told the World Peace Forum in Beijing that Russia’s “unprovoked” invasion was “the greatest threat to the world order”. “Russia’s war in Ukraine, the fact that Russia crossed the border with an armed force, unprovoked, and has started this war with so much human suffering, so many innocent civilians dead – this is a direct violation of the UN Charter,” the ambassador told the event, which was hosted by Tsinghua University. He also warned that other countries were suffering because Russia’s blockade of Ukraine’s ports had disrupted grain exports. But Andrey Denisov, the Russian ambassador, who spoke after Burns, said he “totally disagreed” with the comments and his American counterpart had ignored the backdrop of Nato expansion. “Nato, in essence, is involved in the war with Russia through proxies,” Denisov said. (https://news.yahoo.com/us-russian-ambassadors-china-clash-093000239.html) China has so far refused to condemn Russia’s invasion and has criticised the imposition of sanctions and Nato’s eastward expansion, saying the alliance has created more conflict rather than resolving problems. Densiov said China had been calling on all sides to take a constructive position, and suggested it may be able to “play a role” as mediator.