Diplomatic Briefing

Your exclusive news aggregator handpicked daily!

Archive for August 3, 2022

Newsline: China’s top diplomat told of possible Pelosi Taiwan trip in July

The possibility of U.S. house speaker Nancy Pelosi visiting Taiwan was raised with China’s foreign minister last month and there were no plans for the two countries’ top diplomats to meet this week in Cambodia, a senior U.S. official said on Wednesday. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken discussed the potential for Pelosi’s visit with counterpart Wang Yi during a G20 meeting in Bali that lasted more than five hours, and said any such trip would be entirely Pelosi’s decision and independent of the U.S. government. “The question is whether Beijing will try to use the trip as some kind of excuse to take steps that could be escalatory or that could somehow produce conflict,” the senior State Department official told reporters in Tokyo, adding that Beijing should not overreact to a trip that was neither unusual nor unprecedented. “China should not use this as a pretext to continue what it’s been doing, which is seeking to change the status quo with regard to Taiwan,” the official said. “And if any escalation or crisis were to somehow follow her visit, it would be on Beijing.” (https://whtc.com/2022/08/03/chinas-top-diplomat-told-of-possible-pelosi-taiwan-trip-in-july-u-s-official-says/) The Chinese foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment on Wednesday. China vented its fury on Wednesday over what was the highest-level U.S. visit to Taiwan in a quarter of a century, stepping up military activity in surrounding waters and suspending imports of some products from Taiwan.

Newsline: Top Pakistani Diplomat Involved In Visa Scam In Europe

A high-ranking Pakistani diplomat, who faced serious allegations of human smuggling in March, is at the core of a visa scam as he tried to persuade the European embassies in Islamabad to illegally get visas for Pakistan nationals. A complaint was filed against the high-ranking Pakistani diplomat Israr Husain by Tariq Javid Khan, a former government servant who is in the visa business. Several emails issued to different embassies along with proofs of payment made to the accused diplomat were attached to the application, The News International reported. (https://www.ndtv.com/world-news/top-pak-diplomat-involved-in-visa-scam-in-europe-report-3215112) Husain used to work as an additional secretary of Europe and he would try to persuade the European embassies in Islamabad to get visas for Pakistan nationals. He allegedly tried to send around 11 individuals to Spain. Husain had earlier also served as Pakistan’s ambassador in Czech Republic. Khan alleged that Husain “made an offer to facilitate the issuance of visit, work and residency visas for Italy, the Czech Republic, Spain, Poland and South Korea. He also introduced me to the ambassadors of these countries in Pakistan.” He added that he has the complete record of all payments he made to Hussain in the form of bank receipts, local media reported. The visa was not issued and the Pakistani diplomat had refused to return the money and warned him of dire consequences in case the word went out. The complaint added that the ambassador of Italy, Czech Republic and Spain “will be happy to confirm Husain’s disorderly conduct and they will provide evidence regarding his continuous requests for the illegal issuances of visas.” A formal complaint regarding Husain’s deceptive conduct was submitted to the foreign office by the ambassador of Czech Republic in Pakistan and the ambassador of Pakistan in Czech Republic.

Newsline: EU suggests diplomacy and dialogue amid Taiwan tension

The European Union called on Wednesday for tensions over U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan to be resolved through dialogue and for communication channels with China to be kept open to avoid miscalculation. “The EU has an interest in preserving peace and the status quo in the Taiwan Strait,” a spokesperson for the 27-nation bloc said. “We encourage a peaceful resolution of cross-strait issues. Tensions should be resolved through dialogue. Appropriate channels of communication should be maintained to reduce risks of miscalculation.” (https://news.yahoo.com/eu-urges-dialogue-reduce-risks-072606453.html) The European Commission spoksesperson said the EU had “a clear One China Policy”, recognising the government of the People’s Republic of China as the sole legal government of China while also pursuing “friendly relations and close cooperation with Taiwan”.

Newsline: Top Southeast Asian diplomats discuss Violence in Myanmar

Top Southeast Asian diplomats meeting in Cambodia’s capital intensified efforts Wednesday to stop the escalating violence in Myanmar, and to address other pressing — and often divisive — regional issues. It is the first in-person meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations foreign ministers since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has weakened economies and complicated diplomacy, and comes at a time of increased tensions between the United States and China, as well as global increases in food and energy prices following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. “ASEAN has to deal with challenges of different types and levels but never before, never like this year, have we been confronted at the same time with so many perils for the region and the world at large,” Cambodia’s Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn told the delegates ahead of the meetings. (https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2022-08-03/stopping-myanmar-violence-tops-meeting-of-asian-diplomats) Cambodia currently holds the rotating chairmanship of ASEAN, which also includes the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Laos, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and Brunei in addition to Myanmar.

Newsline: China foreign ministry denies drills around Taiwan harming freedom of navigation

A spokeswoman for the Chinese foreign ministry said on Wednesday that China has not seen its military drills around Taiwan causing freedom of navigation issues. Foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters that Chinese military actions were legitimate and meant as a deterrent to Taiwan. (https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/china-says-it-has-not-seen-drills-around-taiwan-causing-freedom-navigation-2022-08-03/) Tensions are high in the Taiwan strait after China announced targeted military operations in several areas around Taiwan following U.S. House speaker Nancy Pelosi’s arrival on the island for a visit late on Tuesday.

Newsline: China foreign ministry lashes out at Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan

China’s foreign ministry condemned U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to China, saying it seriously damages peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait. (https://news.yahoo.com/china-foreign-ministry-blasts-pelosis-152804066.html) In a statement issued just after her arrival in Taipei late on Tuesday, China’s foreign ministry said Pelosi’s visit severely impacts the political foundations of China-U.S. relations, and said it had lodged a strong protest with the United States.

Newsline: Chinese ambassador warns British lawmakers against Taiwan visit

China’s UK ambassador Zheng Zeguang vowed “severe consequences” if British lawmakers visit Taiwan, the Guardian https://bit.ly/3JoQlOK reported. (https://news.yahoo.com/chinas-uk-ambassador-warns-british-212510460.html) Visits would interfere in China’s internal affairs and would lead to severe consequences in China-UK relations, Zheng said at a news conference in London, the report said. “We call on the UK side to abide by the Sino-UK joint communique and not to underestimate the extreme sensitivity of the Taiwan issue, and not to follow the U.S.’s footsteps,” the Guardian quoted Zheng as saying. Zheng’s comments came after the Guardian reported on Monday that Britain’s House of Commons’ Foreign Affairs Committee is planning a visit to Taiwan probably in November or early December this year.