Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for August 18, 2022

Newsline: Chinese diplomat seen suggesting US carried out 9/11 attacks

A top Chinese diplomat appeared to suggest that the United States carried out the 9/11 terrorist attacks in a tweet. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian shared a “What people think I do” meme on Twitter featuring various scenes of destruction from U.S. wars in Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Pakistan, the former Yugoslavia, and Afghanistan. A corresponding caption alleges that the scene is what each country thinks the U.S. does. However, in the slot for “What I actually do,” an image of the terrorist attacks on the twin towers is shown, suggesting that the U.S. itself carried out the 9/11 attacks. “Everyone needs a clear understanding of himself. So does a nation,” Zhao captioned the image. (https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/prominent-chinese-diplomat-suggests-us-carried-out-911-attacks/ar-AA10M4aY) Zhao is one of the main proponents of what is known as “wolf warrior diplomacy,” referring to a “jingoistic Chinese film franchise,” according to the Brookings Institution. This style of diplomacy features aggressive and controversial rhetoric from Chinese diplomats, frequently utilizing conspiracy theories to place blame on and troll Western governments. The Chinese Embassy did not respond to requests asking what the Chinese position is toward possible U.S. government involvement in the 9/11 attacks.

Newsline: Russia threatens taking Australia to court over unfinished embassy dispute

Russia has threatened Australia with legal action after Canberra cancelled Moscow’s lease on a prime plot of land in the Australian capital where it had planned to build a new embassy. The National Capital Authority (NAC) on Wednesday gave Russia 20 days to vacate the site in Yarralumla, one of Canberra’s most expensive suburbs, as it said the embassy had failed to comply with a three-year construction deadline stipulated in a contract signed in 2008. The NAC said in a statement the unfinished works detract “from the overall aesthetic, importance and dignity of the area reserved for diplomatic missions and foreign representation in the national capital”. The organisation added that its decision was based on a “use it or lose it” policy due to the limited availability of diplomatic blocks. “The Russian federation acknowledges they’re in breach of their lease and when we asked them for an indication for a completion date or commitment of funding towards the new embassy they weren’t able to provide it,” NCA chief executive Sally Barnes told Sky News. (https://www.msn.com/en-xl/news/other/russia-threatens-taking-australia-to-court-over-unfinished-embassy-dispute/ar-AA10NjuF) Construction of the compound began in 2011, but has been beset by delays and financial problems.

Newsline: China’s top diplomat held seven-hour talks with high-ranked Japan official

Japan’s national security adviser met China’s top diplomat for seven hours of talks that covered topics including Taiwan and the war in Ukraine, a Japanese government official said Thursday. Accepting an invitation from China, Takeo Akiba travelled to the city of Tianjin, southeast of Beijing, to meet Yang Jiechi on Wednesday afternoon, the official told AFP. (https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/high-ranked-japan-and-china-officials-hold-seven-hour-talks/ar-AA10MHg4) Chinese state news agency Xinhua also reported that the pair had met, weeks before the countries commemorate the 50th anniversary of their normalised ties on September 29. In recent weeks, Japan has protested Chinese missiles that it believes landed in its economic waters during military drills around Taiwan, while China called visits by Japanese ministers to a controversial war shrine a “serious provocation”. But during the meeting, which included dinner, the high-ranked men took the opportunity to discuss an array of geopolitical issues. Akiba “conveyed Japan’s position” on Taiwan to Yang, and stressed the importance of “peace and stability” in the Taiwan Strait, the National Security Secretariat official said. According to Xinhua, Yang told Akiba that “Taiwan is an inalienable part of China’s territory, and the Taiwan question bears on the political foundation of China-Japan relations and the basic trust and good faith between the two countries”. Akiba and Yang also talked about a perennial controversy over disputed islets in the East China Sea — known as the Senkaku by Tokyo and the Diaoyu by Beijing — the official said. In July, Japan lodged a protest with China over a Chinese naval vessel sailing near the islands.