Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for August 10, 2022

Newsline: China’s, South Korea’s diplomats clash over anti-missile system

South Korea’s government stressed Wednesday it will make its own decisions in strengthening its defenses against North Korean threats, rejecting Chinese calls that it continue the polices of Seoul’s previous government that refrained from adding more U.S. anti-missile batteries that are strongly opposed by Beijing. Commenting on Tuesday’s meeting between Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his South Korean counterpart, Park Jin, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin in a briefing Wednesday reaffirmed Beijing’s stance that the THAAD system in South Korea undermines its “strategic security interests.” “The two foreign ministers had another in-depth exchange of views on the THAAD issue, making clear their respective positions and enhancing mutual understanding,” Wang said. South Korea’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that that it’s a national security matter that Seoul isn’t willing to negotiate with Beijing. “During the meeting, both sides confirmed their differences over the THAAD matter, but also agreed that the issue should not become an obstacle that influences relations between the countries,” the ministry said. (https://news.yahoo.com/china-south-korea-clash-over-144831531.html) The differences between South Korea and China underscored a reemerging rift between the countries just a day after their top diplomats met in eastern China and expressed hope that the issue wouldn’t become a “stumbling stone” in relations. Bilateral ties took a significant hit in 2017 when South Korea installed a missile battery employing the U.S. Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense system, or THAAD, in response to nuclear and missile threats from North Korea. The decision drew an angry reaction from China, which said the anti-missile system could be reconfigured to peer into its territory. South Korea, a longtime U.S. ally, has struggled to strike a balance between the United States and the increasingly assertive foreign policy of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s government.

Newsline: Estonia summons Russian ambassador

Estonia on Wednesday summoned the Russian ambassador and formally protested about the violation of its airspace by a Russian helicopter on Tuesday, the foreign ministry said. “Estonia considers this an extremely serious and regrettable incident that is completely unacceptable,” the ministry said in a release, saying the helicopter had flown over a point in the southeast of the small Baltic nation without permission. (https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2022-08-10/estonia-protests-to-russia-about-unacceptable-violation-of-its-airspace) Estonia made a similar complaint to Moscow in June.

Newsline: Top Chinese, South Korean diplomats eye closer ties

The top South Korean and Chinese diplomats pledged to forge closer relations and maintain stable industrial supply chains. Foreign Ministers Park Jin and Wang Yi, in separate statements from their meeting in the eastern Chinese city of Qingdao, called for the development of relations based on three decades of successful commercial ties. Park’s ministry said the countries agreed to increase high-level communication over supply chain issues. It said the countries agreed to pursue “two-plus-two” talks by vice ministerial-level officials of foreign affairs and defense within this year. (https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/top-chinese-south-korean-diplomats-pledge-closer-ties-88145815) Park and Wang gave no indication they discussed tensions over last week’s visit by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to self-ruled Taiwan, which the mainland’s ruling Communist Party claims is Chinese territory. Beijing reacted to her visit by conducting military drills to intimidate the island and called off dialogue with Washington on climate change and other issues.

Newsline: British embassy says China, UK agree to resume direct passenger flights

China and Britain have agreed to resume direct passenger flights between them, the British embassy in China said on Wednesday. Direct flights would initially be provided by Chinese airlines, and the resumption of flights by British Airways is still under progress, the embassy said in a statement on its official social media account. (https://sports.yahoo.com/china-uk-agree-resume-direct-084601939.html) China suspended flights to and from Britain indefinitely in late 2020 over fears of a new strain of the coronavirus.

Newsline: Diplomacy between Japan and Asean seen as challenging

Japan’s diplomacy with Asean is seen to have become more challenging following the tensions that were precipitated by United States House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi visit to Taiwan recently. Southeast Asia is seen as a region at the forefront of rivalry between Japan and China, but Asean is known for its principle of neutrality toward major powers, and its dialogue partners. According to a report in Kyodo News, some international relations experts said Tokyo should not try to pressure Asean into its camp if it wants to maintain a relationship of mutual trust with the 10-member group. The recent Asean foreign ministerial meeting in Phnom Penh, that also saw China, Japan, Russia and the United States participating in other sessions, is seen by some as a showdown between the world powers. (https://www.msn.com/en-my/news/national/challenging-diplomacy-between-japan-and-asean/ar-AA10u2cZ) Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan had China reacting furiously as Beijing considers it part of China. The Chinese reactions included the launch of a four-day, large-scale live-fire military drill near Taiwan using ballistic missiles, some of which fell into Japan’s exclusive economic zone. In an apparent protest at Japan’s siding with the core of the Western alliance over Taiwan and Ukraine, the Chinese and Russian foreign ministers — Wang Yi and Sergey Lavrov — had left their seats by the time their Japanese counterpart Yoshimasa Hayashi spoke at a parallel session of the East Asia Summit last Friday. China had also canceled one-to-one talks between Wang and Hayashi shortly before they were supposed to meet in the Cambodian capital.