Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for March 13, 2023

Newsline: China to restart issuing all types of visas

China will resume the issuance of all types of visas for foreigners starting on March 15, Bloomberg News reported on Monday, citing the Chinese Embassy in the U.S. (https://neuters.de/world/china/china-resume-issuing-all-types-visas-foreigners-bloomberg-news-2023-03-13/) China will also resume visa-free entry for several places, including Hainan Island and for cruise ships that stop in Shanghai, the report added.

Newsline: Top level diplomacy between China and Russia expected next week

Chinese President Xi Jinping plans to travel to Russia to meet his counterpart Vladimir Putin as soon as next week, people familiar with the matter said, which would be sooner than previously expected. (https://neuters.de/world/chinas-xi-plans-russia-visit-soon-next-week-sources-2023-03-13/) Plans for a visit come as China has been offering to broker peace in Ukraine, an effort that has been met with scepticism in the West given Beijing’s diplomatic support for Russia. Putin said last month that a Xi visit had been agreed, though the Kremlin chief gave no date for a possible visit. The Wall Street Journal reported last month that a visit to Moscow could take place in April or early May. China’s foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the possibility of Xi going to Moscow. When asked about the Reuters report, the Kremlin said it had nothing to say on the matter. “As a rule, announcements of official foreign visits are coordinated synchronously by mutual agreement of the parties,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters in Moscow. “When there is such readiness, we will let you know.” No other details were immediately available. The sources briefed on the matter declined to be identified given the sensitivity of the issue. Last month, Putin hosted China’s top diplomat Wang Yi on a visit to Moscow. One source said that Wang’s trip to Moscow was to help prepare for Xi’s visit.

Newsline: Nicaragua closes embassy to Vatican and Vatican embassy in Managua

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega has ordered the closure of the Vatican Embassy in Managua and that of the Nicaraguan Embassy to the Vatican in Rome, a senior Vatican source said on Sunday. (https://neuters.de/world/americas/nicaragua-closes-vatican-embassy-managua-nicaraguan-embassy-vatican-source-2023-03-12/) Nicaragua signalled that the move, which came a few days after Pope Francis compared the Nicaraguan government to a dictatorship, was “a suspension” of diplomatic relations. The Vatican source said that while the closures do not automatically mean a total break of relations between Managua and the Holy See, they are serious steps towards that possibility. Bishop Rolando Alvarez, a vocal critic of Ortega, was sentenced to more than 26 years in prison in Nicaragua last month on charges that included treason, undermining national integrity and spreading false news. Alvazez was convicted after he refused to leave the country along with 200 political prisoners released by Ortega’s government and sent to the United States. Alvarez refused to board the plane and was stripped of his citizenship. In an interview published last week with Latin American online news outlet Infobae ahead of Monday’s 10th anniversary of his pontificate, the pope pointed to Alvarez’s imprisonment and likened what was happening in Nicaragua to the “1917 Communist dictatorship or that of Hitler in 1935”. Staff in both embassies had been down to barebones for years with only a chargé d’affaires for the Vatican in Managua and almost no one for Nicaragua in Rome.