Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for July 27, 2022

Newsline: South Korea’ top diplomat says North Korea will face sanctions in case of nuclear tests

North Korea is likely to face stronger sanctions including measures aimed at curbing its cyberattack capabilities if it conducts a nuclear test it has been preparing, South Korea’s foreign minister has said. Park Jin, who took office in May as president Yoon Suk-yeol’s top diplomat, confirmed on Wednesday (27 July) that North Korea has completed arrangements for what would be its first nuclear test since 2017. (https://news.yahoo.com/north-korea-face-sanctions-conducting-141439305.html) The nation is already under various UN sanctions because of its missile programs and the security council will adopt a “far stronger” resolution if it goes ahead with the test.

Newsline: Russia’s top diplomat lashes out at West’s stance towards Africa during Ethiopia visit

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday that Moscow supported Ethiopia’s efforts to stabilise its internal political situation in remarks that sought to draw a contrast with what he presented as meddling by the West. “We confirmed our firm support for those efforts which the government is making to stabilise the situation and launch inclusive national dialogue to solve the key questions,” Lavrov said during a joint media briefing with his Ethiopian counterpart Demeke Mekonnen. Lavrov described African countries trying to define their own futures and solve their own problems as part of a trend towards a multipolar world which he accused the West of opposing in its pursuit of U.S. hegemony. Demeke said his country was grateful for “Russia’s unwavering support in helping us in safeguarding Ethiopia’s sovereignty”. (https://news.yahoo.com/lavrov-denigrates-wests-stance-towards-121229511.html) Lavrov was in Addis Ababa wrapping up a four-nation African tour aimed at drumming up support for Moscow at a time of confrontation with Western powers.

Newsline: Iraq and Turkey escalate diplomatic dispute over deadly attack

A dispute between Iraq and Turkey over a recent deadly attack in Iraq’s northern Kurdish region escalated at an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday. (https://www.stamfordadvocate.com/news/article/UN-envoy-Iraq-and-Turkey-ready-for-joint-probe-17330764.php) Iraq’s foreign minister demanded the withdrawal of all Turkish troops from his country, while Turkey’s deputy ambassador said his government will keep pursuing fighters it considers terrorists who take refuge in Iraq. The Iraqi government sought the meeting after the July 20 artillery attack that killed nine Iraqi tourists and injured 33 other people. Its foreign minister, Fuad Hussein, said the government has “proofs” that Turkish armed forces were responsible. Turkey has denied it was behind the attack and blamed fighters from the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, which is considered a terrorist organization by Ankara and the West. It has for decades waged an insurgency against the government in Ankara and maintains hideouts in Iraq’s mountainous north. At the start of the Security Council meeting, the U.N. special envoy for Iraq had said Turkey and Iraq were ready for a joint investigation into the artillery shelling at the Parkha resort in the Zakho district of the semi-autonomous Kurdish region. Diplomats said chances of the council approving a resolution demanding the withdrawal of Turkish forces from Iraq are slim.

Newsline: China rejects criticism that its zero-Covid policies violate the rights of US diplomats

China has denied that its zero-Covid policies violate the rights of US diplomats, and reiterated that foreign envoys must comply with Chinese rules. In response to a column in The Washington Post that strongly criticised Chinese pandemic controls being applied to diplomats, foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said on Tuesday that the measures were to protect the health of Chinese citizens and foreign residents alike. These measures had helped to ensure that China maintained one of the lowest rates of infection and death in the world, Zhao said. (https://finance.yahoo.com/news/china-rejects-criticism-zero-covid-093000779.html) In the opinion piece, which was posted on the Post’s site on Thursday, columnist Josh Rogin contended that the harsh policies, including rolling lockdowns and forced quarantines, had “trampled on the rights of US diplomats to an extent previously unknown” and forced them to “live in constant fear”. Rogin noted that US diplomats and their family members are supposed to be immune from being arbitrarily detained by the nations where they work, and said that the State Department had concluded that Covid-related detention in quarantine centres violated the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. Rogin said that 16 American diplomatic personnel or their family members have been sent against their will to Chinese government medical quarantine centres “which can resemble prisons”, and that some US diplomats were so afraid that they petitioned the State Department to leave China.