Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for September 5, 2022

Newsline: UK’s Top Diplomat Becomes Next Prime Minister

Foreign secretary Liz Truss won the bitter race to succeed Boris Johnson as UK prime minister, and will take power with the country facing brutal economic headwinds. The foreign secretary, 47, emerged victorious on Monday after a two-month Conservative Party leadership contest that started with 11 candidates and concluded with a runoff against former Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak. She defeated him by 81,326 votes to 60,399 in a ballot of party members — a narrower margin than polls had projected, illustrating the challenge she’ll face in trying to unite the party — and will now become Britain’s third female prime minister. (https://finance.yahoo.com/news/liz-truss-wins-leadership-race-114502071.html) The foreign secretary enjoyed double-digit leads over Sunak in polls of Tory members. That meant a Truss win has been anticipated for weeks, with markets reacting to her promise to tackle the cost-of-living crisis through tax cuts, and foreign capitals bracing for her combative brand of diplomacy.

Newsline: Singapore’s Former Top Diplomat Warns to Not Underestimate China on Taiwan

Singapore’s former top diplomat warned on Monday that a conflict in Taiwan would trigger a strong Chinese response. Former Foreign Minister George Yeo told Bloomberg Television, without naming anyone, that “people” don’t understand just how deep an issue Taiwan is for China and underestimate the severity of a conflict if one were to come. Already fraught ties between the US and China have continued to deteriorate since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visited the self-governing island last month amid concerns a miscalculation could lead to conflict. “If there is conflict over Taiwan — let us say that China loses the first few battles, gets bloodied — it will evoke in the Chinese body politic a reaction as profound as that in the US of Pearl Harbor,” he said. “This is that serious, and people who do not know the history do not realize the game they’re playing.” “There are people who think that Taiwan is a card to be played,” Yeo said. “They don’t realize how serious this game is. For China, it’s deeply emotional.” (https://news.yahoo.com/singapore-ex-diplomat-warns-not-062145528.html) Since Pelosi’s visit, China has sent warplanes across the Taiwan Strait’s so-called median line almost daily, shrinking a buffer zone that has helped keep the peace for decades. The flights show how Beijing is attempting to use the visit to establish a lasting presence closer to Taiwan.

Newsline: Two Russian embassy staff killed in Kabul bombing

A bomb exploded near the Russian embassy in the Afghan capital Kabul on Monday morning, officials said. Two Russian embassy staff were killed on Monday in a blast near the country’s diplomatic mission in Kabul, the Russian Foreign Ministry said. Russia’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying that at 10:50 am Kabul time, an unknown militant set off an explosive device in the immediate vicinity of the entrance to the consular section of the Russian Embassy in Kabul. “As a result of the attack, two employees of the diplomatic mission were killed, and there are also victims among Afghan citizens,” the ministry said. (https://www.newsweek.com/explosion-russian-embassy-kabul-afghanistan-diplomats-kabul-1739779) The explosion happened near the embassy building located in the Darul Aman area, southwest of Kabul, Khaama Press reported. Russian state run news agency TASS cited the Arabic TV channel Al Arabiya as saying that the attack was carried out by a suicide bomber.