Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for March 20, 2023

Newsline: Senior U.S. diplomat for Europe to step down

The top U.S. diplomat to Europe Karen Donfried will step down to focus on her family, a State Department spokesperson said on Monday. (https://neuters.de/world/us/top-us-state-dept-diplomat-europe-step-down-focus-family-2023-03-20/) The 18-month tenure of Assistant Secretary Donfried, who assumed the role in September 2021, has been marked by the biggest conflict in Europe since the World War Two and the U.S. push to form and solidify a unified Western position against Russia. She has been among U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s key aides, traveling frequently to Europe to meet with U.S. partners as President Joe Biden sought to repair and re-energize transatlantic ties damaged by the unilateral approach of former president Donald Trump’s administration. In one of her last high-level meetings at the State Department, she confronted Russia’s top diplomat in Washington, when he was summoned last Tuesday following the crash of a U.S. drone over the Black Sea after being intercepted by Russian jets. She was set to leave her post at the end of March, the Department spokesperson said. No decision has been made yet on her successor to oversee the Bureau of Europe and Eurasian Affairs which covers 50 countries that stretch from the United Kingdom to Azerbaijan.

Newsline: China’s embassy warns nationals after killings in Central African Republic

China’s embassy in the Central African Republic has urged its citizens to avoid travelling outside the capital Bangui after nine Chinese nationals were killed in an attack by militants at a gold mine outside the city. The embassy said in a statement on Sunday there had been many “vicious” security incidents against workers of foreign mining enterprises in the area, and Chinese citizens still outside Bangui were requested to evacuate immediately. (https://neuters.de/world/china-warns-against-travelling-out-central-african-republic-capital-after-2023-03-20/) In view of the security risks, the Chinese embassy warned Chinese institutions and citizens not to travel outside Bangui and in case of emergency, to contact the embassy to seek consular protection. Armed men killed nine Chinese nationals and wounded two more in an attack on a mine run by the Gold Coast Group, 25 km (15 miles) from the town of Bambari, its mayor told Reuters. Chinese President Xi Jinping has called for “severe punishment” of the perpetrators in accordance to the law, and said the safety of Chinese citizens must be ensured, the Chinese foreign ministry said in a statement on Monday. The security risk level in the Central African Republic, apart from the capital, was “red”, or very high, the Chinese foreign ministry added.

Newsline: Top level diplomacy of China’s and Russia’s leaders

China’s Xi Jinping and Russia’s Vladimir Putin published separate articles on Monday, as Xi was due to begin a visit to Moscow, setting out their hopes for bilateral relations and praising each other. “China and Russia are the largest neighbours, strategic partners of comprehensive cooperation, leading world powers and permanent members of the U.N. Security Council. Both countries pursue an independent and autonomous foreign policy, and consider relations between China and Russia as one of the main priorities in diplomacy,” Xi wrote in Rossiiskaya Gazeta. “China and Russia adhere to the concept of eternal friendship and mutually beneficial cooperation.” A Chinese proposal on the Ukraine crisis, a 12-point paper released last month, represents “as much as possible the unity of the world community’s views”, Xi said. “We are grateful for the balanced line of (China) in connection with the events taking place in Ukraine, for understanding their background and true causes. Russia is open to a politico-diplomatic settlement of the Ukrainian crisis. We welcome China’s willingness to play a constructive role in resolving the crisis,” Putin wrote in China’s People’s Daily. (https://neuters.de/world/putin-quoting-confucius-heaps-praise-xi-2023-03-20/) Bilateral trade in 2022 rose to $185 billion – a record. Putin says $200 billion in trade is likely to be reached in 2023. Putin said oil and coal deliveries had grown and that Russia is helping to build new nuclear power reactors in China. He says the two are exploring outer space and developing new technologies.