Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for May 5, 2023

Newsline: Canada is considering expelling Chinese diplomat

Canada’s Foreign Minister Melanie Joly said on Thursday she is considering expelling a Chinese diplomat after a 2021 intelligence report said the official had sought to track down a Canadian lawmaker’s family in Hong Kong to intimidate them. “My deputy minister right now is meeting with the Chinese ambassador and summoning him, and that’s why also we’re assessing different options including the expulsion of diplomats,” Joly said in a parliamentary committee meeting. Joly was replying to a question from Michael Chong, the member of parliament with the opposition Conservative Party who had been singled out in the intelligence report after he backed a motion in parliament declaring China’s treatment of the Uyghur Muslim minority genocide. “Why do you minister continue to allow this diplomat to be accredited in this country?” Chong said. On Monday Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper said that China sought information about Chong and his family in a likely effort to “make an example” of him and “deter others from taking anti-PRC positions.” The Chinese consulate in Toronto denied the report. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he found out about the intelligence report from the newspaper, and on Wednesday blamed the spy agency for not passing it onto him at the time. Late on Wednesday, China sharply criticized Trudeau’s comment linking Chinese-produced lithium to slave labor, and warned Canada could face consequences if it continues “denigrating maliciously” the human rights situation in China. “The Chinese side expresses its strong dissatisfaction and resolute opposition to this,” the Chinese Embassy in Ottawa said in a statement. “The Canadian side should respect facts, set aside prejudice, and stop denigrating maliciously the human rights situation in China, otherwise Canada will certainly take the consequences.” (https://finance.yahoo.com/news/1-canada-considering-expelling-chinese-194335291.html) Trudeau’s office said it did not have anything to add to his comments from last week.

Newsline: Seoul’s US ambassador says South Korea will engage with China

South Korea will soon engage with China at the senior level and also seek the opportunity for diplomacy aimed at trilateral cooperation with Japan and China, South Korea’s ambassador to Washington Cho Hyun-dong said on Thursday. Cho told an event hosted by Washington’s Center for Strategic and International Studies that the COVID-19 pandemic had prevented high-level exchanges with China and there was a need for a new foundation of relations with its neighbor and number-one trading partner. “Now we have a much-improved situation of the pandemic, then we’re going to engage with China at the senior level and also, we are going to seek some opportunity of diplomacy in the context of trilateral cooperation between Seoul, Tokyo and Beijing,” he said. Cho said China probably had some “unhappy reaction” to Seoul’s heavy diplomatic engagement with both the United States and Japan, particularly the Washington Declaration agreed at a summit between President Joe Biden and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol last week. “But we’ll definitely engage with China,” he said. “We have to maintain a good relationship with China.” (https://neuters.de/world/asia-pacific/south-korea-will-soon-engage-with-china-senior-level-seouls-us-ambassador-2023-05-04/) Economic leaders of Japan, South Korea and China said in a joint message after a meeting this week that they recognise the importance of strengthening economic and trade relations to secure post-pandemic growth and prepare for future shocks.