Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for February 24, 2023

Newsline: Pacific islands tap Taiwan ally Nauru for next top diplomat

The top Pacific islands diplomatic post will pass to Taiwan ally Nauru next year, the 18-member regional bloc agreed Friday, as it resolved to face climate change and superpower rivalry as a united “family”. The Pacific Islands Forum, meeting in Fiji, also said it would hold more talks with Japanese scientists and the International Atomic Energy Agency over Japan’s plan to release treated water from the destroyed Fukushima nuclear plant into the sea. The Cook Islands took over from Fiji as forum chairman, and the meeting agreed that Nauru’s former president Baron Waqa would become the bloc’s secretary general in 2024. Nauru has diplomatic ties with Taiwan and not China, and Waqa has previously clashed with Chinese diplomats. Asked about China at a press conference, Cook Islands Prime Minister Mark Brown said restoring economic prosperity was important for island states facing increased debt.https://neuters.de/world/asia-pacific/pacific-islands-tap-taiwan-ally-nauru-next-top-diplomat-2023-02-24/) China last year tried but failed to strike a trade and security deal with 10 forum members who hold diplomatic ties with Beijing, and says forging security cooperation with the Pacific islands is a priority for its Global Security Initiative. Four of Taiwan’s 14 diplomatic allies are forum members.

Newsline: China’s foreign ministry says Ukraine crisis must not get out of control

China wants to prevent the Russia-Ukraine crisis from getting out of control and said on Friday dialogue and negotiation are the only viable ways to resolve the crisis. On the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, China called in a 12-point foreign ministry paper for a comprehensive ceasefire and a gradual de-escalation. The ministry paper is largely a reiteration of China’s line since Russia launched what it calls its “special military operation” on Feb. 24 last year. China has refrained from condemning its ally Russia or referring to its intervention in its neighbour as an “invasion” and it has also criticised Western sanctions on Russia. “Conflict and war benefit no one. All parties must stay rational and exercise restraint, avoid fanning the flames and aggravating tensions, and prevent the crisis from deteriorating further or even spiralling out of control,” the ministry said in its paper. (https://neuters.de/world/china-wants-prevent-ukraine-crisis-getting-out-control-2023-02-24/) Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected to deliver a “peace speech” later on Friday to mark the anniversary in which he is likely to urge peace while avoiding condemnation of Russia. The foreign ministry said it had no information on a speech. The ambassador of the European Union to China, Jorge Toledo, said China’s paper was not a peace proposal but the EU would study it closely, though he noted EU concern that the paper did not mention an aggressor. Toledo, speaking at a briefing for reporters in Beijing, said China had a special responsibility to defend and uphold the values of the United Nations Charter.