Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for October 29, 2022

Newsline: Elon Musk’s sustained diplomacy efforts gain momentum

Elon Musk’s suggestion of a diplomatic end to the Ukraine war initially encountered a strong negative reaction. Yet a possibility of diplomatic deals, once unthinkable, seems to become increasingly sayable. Self-Admitted non-diplomat Congressman Paul Gosar (R-AZ) decided to take the initiative on ending the Russia-Ukraine war and invited leaders of Russia and Ukraine to Arizona for ‘peace talks’. The letter to President Joe Biden from 30 House progressives led by Rep. Pramila Jayapal, chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, was advocating talks between the U.S. and Russia on Ukraine. Although it was retracted, the letter came as an indication that Musk’s advocacy of a negotiated settlement was apparently gaining momentum. A potential deal would involve Russia holding Crimea, a guarantee that Ukraine won’t join NATO and a referendum in the areas Russia held before February 2022, while Ukraine would get the rest of its territory back. Syndicated columnist @RichLowry argued it should be permissible to think about a potential diplomatic end to the Ukraine war. Diplomacy, like warfare, has its costs, which isn’t a good reason to shut down any discussion of it, @RichLowry wrote. (https://www.miningjournal.net/opinion/2022/10/diplomacy-in-ukraine-should-not-be-politically-correct/) Eventual negotiation that may suspend the conflict won’t be an ideal solution yet an imperfect peace will surely prove a better deal than a good war.

Newsline: U.S. says North Korean diplomacy unchanged

The United States said on Friday its diplomatic policy towards North Korea had not changed after a senior U.S. official responsible for nuclear policy raised some eyebrows by saying Washington would be willing to engage in arms-control talks with Pyongyang. Bonnie Jenkins, State Department under secretary for arms control, was asked at a Washington nuclear conference on Thursday at which point North Korea should be treated as an arms-control problem. “If they would have a conversation with us … arms control can always be an option if you have two willing countries willing to sit down at the table and talk,” she replied. “And not just arms control, but risk reduction – everything that leads up to a traditional arms-control treaty and all the different aspects of arms control that we can have with them,” she said. Referring to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, she added: “If he picked up the phone and said, ‘I want to talk about arms control,’ we’re not going to say no. I think, if anything, we would want to explore what that means.” Some experts argue that recognizing North Korea as a nuclear-armed state, something Pyongyang seeks, is a prerequisite for such talks. But Washington has long argued that the North Korean nuclear program is illegal and subject to United Nations sanctions. Asked about Jenkins’ comment, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said: “I want to be very clear about this. There has been no change to U.S. policy.” Price said U.S. policy remained “the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” while adding, “we continue to be open to diplomacy with the DPRK, we continue to reach out to the DPRK, we’re committed to pursuing a diplomatic approach. We’re prepared to meet without preconditions and we call on the DPRK to engage in serious and sustained diplomacy.” (https://news.yahoo.com/u-says-north-korea-policy-020444741.html) The United States and its allies are concerned that North Korea may be about to resume nuclear bomb testing for the first time since 2017. North Korea has rejected U.S. calls to return to talks.

Newsline: German authorities looking into reports of illegal Chinese diplomatic police in Frankfurt

Authorities in Germany are investigating whether China maintains an illegal extraterritorial diplomatic police station in Frankfurt, a spokesperson said. A spokesperson for the interior ministry in the German state of Hesse said police and internal security services were checking a report by Spanish activist group Safeguard Defenders, who said China had set up undeclared police offices in 30 countries, including Germany. Confirming an earlier report in the Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper, the spokesperson said they so far had no indications such facilities existed in Frankfurt. (https://www.reuters.com/world/german-authorities-looking-into-reports-illegal-chinese-police-frankfurt-2022-10-28/) The Chinese embassy did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Dutch authorities on Wednesday said they were investigating Chinese offices that were operating illegally in the Netherlands, carrying out tasks like renewing driving licences. That followed allegations, denied by the Chinese embassy in The Hague, that the office had also harassed a Chinese dissident living in the Netherlands.