Diplomatic Briefing

Your exclusive news aggregator handpicked daily!

Archive for May 12, 2023

Newsline: US number two diplomat to retire next month

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, the country’s number two diplomat, said on Friday she will retire at the end of June after three decades in Washington’s foreign policy establishment. Sherman is the first woman to serve in her current role, in which she has headed up the Biden administration’s diplomacy with China. Secretary of State Antony Blinken credited Sherman with breaking barriers for women and working on “some of the toughest foreign policy challenges of our time.” “Our nation is safer and more secure, and our partnerships more robust, due to her leadership,” Blinken said in a statement. (https://neuters.de/world/us/us-deputy-secretary-state-sherman-retire-blinken-2023-05-12/) In a note to State Department staff announcing her retirement, Sherman said her latest stint in government starting in 2021 was marked by shifting geopolitical tides.

Newsline: South Africa rejects accusations of U.S. ambassador

South African officials on Friday hit back at U.S. accusations that a sanctioned Russian ship had collected weapons from a naval base near Cape Town late last year, a move investors fear could lead Washington to impose sanctions. On Friday, a minister responsible for arms control and a foreign ministry spokesman said the country had not approved any arms shipment to Russia in December. “We didn’t approve any arms to Russia, … it wasn’t sanctioned or approved by us,” Communications Minister Mondli Gungubele, who chaired the National Conventional Arms Control Committee (NCACC) when the alleged arms shipment to Russia took place, told 702 radio. (https://neuters.de/world/africa/south-african-minister-we-didnt-approve-any-arms-shipment-russia-2023-05-12/) The U.S. ambassador to South Africa said on Thursday he was confident that a Russian ship uploaded weapons from the Simon’s Town base in December, suggesting the incident was not in line with Pretoria’s stance of neutrality in the Ukraine conflict. Western diplomats were alarmed at South Africa carrying out naval exercises with Russia and China this year, and at the timing of a visit by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. South Africa is one of Russia’s most important allies on a continent.

Newsline: China’s top diplomat to visit Australia

China’s foreign minister is expected to visit Australia in July as diplomatic relations between the two trading partners stabilise, the South China Morning Post reported on Friday. The visit by the minister, Qin Gang, has not been officially announced but would take place in July, the newspaper reported, citing a source “close to the Chinese government”. (https://neuters.de/world/asia-pacific/chinese-foreign-minister-visit-australia-south-china-morning-post-2023-05-12/) The office of Australia’s foreign minister, Penny Wong, did not respond to a request for comment. Wong visited Beijing in December. Diplomatic exchanges were frozen in 2020 as China put curbs on a dozen Australian exports after it was angered by an Australian call for an international investigation into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic. Tension has eased since Australia elected a Labor government in May last year although there has been no change in policy on China.