Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for March 30, 2023

Newsline: US Top Diplomat Condemns Russia’s Detention of Reporter

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken condemned Russia for detaining American reporter. “We are deeply concerned over Russia’s widely reported detention of a U.S. citizen journalist,” Blinken said in a statement. (https://finance.yahoo.com/news/ukraine-latest-top-secret-hearing-141846848.html) Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich was arrested in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg on suspicion of espionage.

Newsline: Russia’s diplomat says too early to talk of prisoner swap after U.S. reporter arrested on spy charges

Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said it was too early to talk of any possible prisoner swap with the United States, saying that such deals are typically arranged only after a prisoner is convicted. (https://neuters.de/world/ukraine-sees-russian-progress-eastern-frontline-city-bakhmut-2023-03-29/) Russia on Thursday charged an American correspondent for the Wall Street Journal with spying, in a case certain to escalate Moscow’s diplomatic feud with Washington. The newspaper denied the allegations and demanded the immediate release of “trusted and dedicated reporter” Evan Gershkovich. “The Wall Street Journal vehemently denies the allegations from the FSB and seeks the immediate release of our trusted and dedicated reporter, Evan Gershkovich. We stand in solidarity with Evan and his family,” the newspaper said. Gershkovich, a 31-year-old who has worked in Russia as a journalist for six years. He was brought to Moscow, where a court at a closed hearing ordered him held in pre-trial detention until May 29. The TASS state news agency said he pleaded not guilty. There was no immediate response from Washington. The U.S. State Department’s travel guidance, last updated in February this year, advises U.S. citizens not to go to Russia because of the danger of arbitrary arrest, and says those living or travelling there should depart immediately.

Newsline: China’s embassy in Washington denounces visit of Tibet’s leader-in-exile

China accused the U.S. Congress of interfering in its internal affairs on Wednesday by virtually hosting the head of an India-based organization known as Tibet’s government-in-exile to speak at a hearing earlier this week. Penpa Tsering, known as the Sikyong of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), spoke to the bipartisan Congressional-Executive Commission on China via video link on Tuesday and said Tibet was dying a “slow death” under Chinese rule. Responding to a request for comment, the spokesperson for China’s embassy in Washington, Liu Pengyu, said: “The so-called ‘Tibetan government-in-exile’ is an out-and-out separatist political group and an illegal organization in total violation of China’s Constitution and laws.” “The invitation for the ‘Sikyong’ to speak at the Congress was an interference in China’s internal affairs. China is firmly opposed to this,” he said in an emailed statement. “The U.S. should take concrete actions to honor its commitment of acknowledging Tibet as part of China, and stop meddling in China’s internal affairs.” (https://neuters.de/world/china-denounces-us-congress-hosting-tibets-leader-in-exile-2023-03-29/) Tuesday’s address was the first to Congress by the Sikyong, a leadership role created in 2012 after the Dalai Lama, the Tibetans’ 87-year-old spiritual leader, relinquished political authority in favor of an organization that could outlive him. Beijing has accused the Dalai Lama of fomenting separatism in Tibet and it does not recognize the CTA, which represents about 100,000 exiled Tibetans living in around 30 countries including India, Nepal, Canada and the United States.

Newsline: Peru claims “definitive withdrawal” of ambassador from Colombia

Peru’s government on Wednesday announced the “definitive withdrawal” of its ambassador from Colombia amid diplomatic tensions between both countries. (https://neuters.de/world/americas/peru-announces-definitive-withdrawal-ambassador-colombia-2023-03-30/) The decision responds to “repetitive interventionist and offensive comments” from Colombian President Gustavo Petro, Peru’s foreign ministry said in a statement.