Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for March 15, 2023

Newsline: China Blocks U.S. Webcast of North Korea Meeting at U.N.

China blocked the United States on Wednesday from broadcasting on the internet an informal United Nations Security Council meeting on human rights abuses in North Korea, diplomats said. The meeting will be held on Friday, but the 15 council members have to unanimously agree to allow it to be webcast. Diplomats said it is rare for a broadcast to be blocked. The Security Council has regularly discussed human rights in North Korea since 2014 in public formal meetings and behind closed doors. China and Russia have long said they do not believe the council – charged with maintaining international peace and security – should be discussing human rights in North Korea. China told its council colleagues on Wednesday in an email, seen by Reuters, that the discussion – “won’t bring any benefit, and we have been against the holding of this … meeting from the very beginning.” “Therefore, we have to object to the webcasting of this meeting by UN WebTV,” China said. (https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2023-03-15/china-blocks-u-s-webcast-of-north-korea-rights-meeting-at-u-n) Pyongyang rejects accusations of human rights abuses and blames sanctions for a dire humanitarian situation in North Korea. The country has been under U.N. sanctions over its ballistic missile and nuclear programs since 2006. The aim of the informal council discussion is to spotlight rights abuses in North Korea and “identify opportunities for the international community to promote accountability,” according to a note to council members last week from the United States and elected council member Albania, which is co-hosting the meeting.

Newsline: Honduras eyes diplomatic relations with China

Honduran President Xiomara Castro said on Tuesday she had asked the country’s foreign minister to open official relations with China, pressuring Taiwan ahead of a sensitive visit by President Tsai Ing-wen to the United States and Central America. (https://neuters.de/world/americas/honduras-president-says-govt-seek-official-relations-with-china-2023-03-14/) China does not allow countries with which it has diplomatic relations to maintain official ties with Taiwan, which it claims as its own territory with no right to state-to-state ties, a position Taiwan strongly disputes. Castro had floated the idea of starting relations with China and cutting ties with Taiwan during her electoral campaign, but said in January 2022 she hoped to maintain ties with Taiwan. If the Central American country does end relations with Taiwan, it will leave the island with only 13 diplomatic allies.

Newsline: Argentina, Ecuador in diplomatic row

A diplomatic spat between Argentina and Ecuador escalated Tuesday after it was revealed that a convicted former cabinet minister, who had been living in the Argentine embassy, had escaped Quito to Venezuela. Maria de los Angeles Duarte, who served under former president Rafael Correa, was sentenced to eight years for bribery, but had been holed up in Argentina’s embassy since August 2020 with her son, whose father is Argentine. Argentina had offered Duarte asylum, but Ecuador refused to grant her free passage out of the country. Duarte “was present in the Argentine embassy in Caracas” from 11:00 am on Tuesday, the Argentine foreign ministry said in a statement, without giving any details of how she had managed to escape to Venezuela. (https://news.yahoo.com/ecuador-argentina-diplomatic-row-over-032507763.html) Ecuador reacted angrily, summoning Argentina’s ambassador Gabriel Fuks to explain what it called inconsistencies in the embassy’s explanations of how Duarte had escaped and for refusing to hand over video surveillance footage from inside the compound. Quito then declared Fuks persona non grata and recalled its own ambassador to Argentina for consultations. Buenos Aires then followed suit, recalling its ambassador from Quito and saying it would also expel Ecuador’s ambassador.