Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for December 20, 2022

Newsline: Peru’s foreign ministry calls Colombian president’s statements ‘unacceptable interference’

Peru’s foreign ministry called Colombian President Gustavo Petro’s recent and repeated statements about the political crisis in Peru an “unacceptable interference” in its domestic affairs. (https://neuters.de/world/americas/peru-calls-colombian-presidents-statements-unacceptable-interference-domestic-2022-12-19/) In a letter sent to Colombia’s embassy in Peru, the ministry said it had expressed its “deep dissatisfaction” with Petro’s comments, which it said did not reflect the longstanding respect between the two countries.

Newsline: China’s embassy in Manila accuses U.S. over South China Sea

China’s embassy in Manila accused the United States on Tuesday of driving a wedge between the Philippines and Beijing to stir up trouble in the South China Sea. Beijing was reacting to a Dec. 19 statement by U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price voicing concern over the reported “escalating swarms” of Chinese vessels in the disputed waterway and an incident involving a floating piece of rocket. Price said China’s actions “reflect continuing disregard for other South China Sea claimants and states lawfully operating in the region”. He reiterated that the United States stands by the Philippines in upholding rules-based international order. In a statement, China’s embassy in Manila said it was “only natural for neighbours to have differences.” “The U.S. keeps meddling in the South China Sea disputes and trying to drive wedges between countries in the region, creating tensions and harming regional peace and stability,” it said. (https://neuters.de/world/us-china-trade-barbs-over-south-china-sea-2022-12-20/) China claims vast swathes of the South China Sea that overlap with the exclusive economic zones of Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia and the Philippines. The Philippines last week expressed “great concern” over the “reported swarming” of Chinese vessels in a reef and shoal inside its exclusive economic zone. That came a few days after the foreign ministry filed a diplomatic protest over a Chinese coastguard ship which the Philippine military said used force to retrieve a piece of rocket floating in the ocean that was being towed by a Philippine vessel in the South China Sea. China has denied it forcefully grabbed the object, which it said last month was debris from the casing protecting the nose cone of a spacecraft launched by Beijing.

Newsline: U.N. Security Council to vote on Myanmar Wednesday

The U.N. Security Council is likely to vote on Wednesday on a draft resolution demanding an immediate end to violence in Myanmar and urging its military junta to release all political prisoners, including ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi, diplomats said. (https://neuters.de/world/asia-pacific/un-security-council-likely-vote-wednesday-myanmar-2022-12-19/) The 15-member council has long been split on Myanmar with diplomats saying China and Russia would likely shield the junta from strong action. So far it has only agreed formal statements on Myanmar, where the army also led a 2017 crackdown on Rohingya Muslims, forcing more than 700,000 to flee to Bangladesh. Negotiations on the British-drafted resolution began in September. The initial text – seen by Reuters – urged an immediate end to the transfer of arms to Myanmar and threatened U.N. sanctions, but that language has since been removed. To be adopted, a Security Council resolution needs at least nine votes in favor and no vetoes by Russia, China, the United States, France or Britain. The draft resolution, seen by Reuters, expresses “deep concern” at the ongoing state of emergency imposed by the military when it seized power and its “grave impact” on the people of Myanmar.

Newsline: Former Australian Prime Minister appointed ambassador to U.S.

Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has been appointed Australia’s next ambassador to the United States. Prime Minister Anthony Albanese called Rudd one of the world’s most sought-after experts on China and said he would bring significant experience to the role at a time when the region was being reshaped by strategic competition. “Kevin Rudd is an outstanding appointment,” said Albanese at a news conference on Tuesday ahead of Foreign Minister Penny Wong’s state visit to China. “He brings a great deal of credit to Australia by agreeing to take up this position as a former prime minister, as a former foreign minister.” (https://neuters.de/world/former-australian-prime-minister-kevin-rudd-appointed-ambassador-us-2022-12-20/) Rudd, who speaks fluent Mandarin, has written and spoken widely on foreign relations with China since he quit politics in 2013. He completed an Oxford doctorate on the world view of China’s president, Xi Jinping, in September and heads international relations institute the Asia Society in New York. Saying he was greatly honoured, Rudd reiterated the importance of the U.S. alliance and highlighted his close personal ties with American business and political leaders after nearly a decade living and working in the country. “Our national interest continues to be served, as it has for decades past, by the deepest and most effective strategic engagement of the United States in our region,” said Rudd in a statement. Albanese said the appointment of Rudd, which follows the September appointment of former foreign minister Stephen Smith as ambassador to the United Kingdom, reflected the importance of the AUKUS nuclear submarine security deal between Australia, the U.K. and U.S. Rudd will take up his post in early 2023.