Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for Asia

Newsline: China slams attack on Pakistan’s embassy in Kabul

China condemned the attack on the Pakistani embassy in Kabul last week and said it firmly opposed all forms of violence and terrorist acts. “China strongly condemns and firmly opposes all forms of violence and terrorist acts,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said in response to a question raised by APP. “We extend sympathy to the injured (person) in the attack,” the spokesperson said. Mao Ning remarked that China had been closely following the security situation in Afghanistan, and added, “China will continue to firmly support Afghanistan in combating all forms of terrorism and violence to safeguard its national security and stability.” (https://dailytimes.com.pk/1036937/china-condemns-attack-on-pakistans-embassy-in-kabul/) Pakistan’s embassy in Kabul came under attack last Friday, leaving one security guard critically injured.

Newsline: U.S. decides not to send ambassador to Myanmar

The U.S. will downgrade its diplomatic relations with Myanmar, with the incumbent American ambassador, Thomas Vajda, returning home later this month and Washington deciding not to send a successor, Nikkei Asia has learned. “Deputy chief of mission Deborah Lynn will assume duties as charge d’affaires at [the] U.S. Embassy Rangoon upon Ambassador Vajda’s departure,” a State Department spokesperson responded to Nikkei by email. (https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/Myanmar-Crisis/U.S.-to-downgrade-Myanmar-ties-decides-not-to-send-ambassador) Washington is making it clear that it does not recognize Myanmar’s military regime.

Newsline: China launches diplomatic charm offensive in the Middle East

Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday to market China as a competitive alternative to longtime U.S. dominance in the region. Xi is expected to be in Riyadh through Friday, mingling with at least 14 Middle Eastern leaders at the Gulf-China Summit for Cooperation and Development and the first-ever Arab-China Summit for Cooperation and Development. (https://news.yahoo.com/xi-jinping-takes-diplomatic-charm-175547579.html) It’s the latest in Xi’s diplomacy blitz that has included meetings with more than 25 heads of state since he secured a third term as China’s paramount leader in October. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning on Wednesday described the Arab-China summit as “epoch-making” and said Xi will seek Arab support for his signature Global Development and Global Security Initiatives. The summits allow Xi to position China as a friendly and reliable ally in stark contrast to the frosty fist bump and stern lecture on human rights that President Joe Biden delivered to Saudi Arabia’s de facto leader Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during his trip to the country in July.

Newsline: Chinese secret police stations prompt call for consulate closures

Countries should shut down Chinese consulates until the communist regime closes its network of illegal policing operations, a former deputy national security adviser said after nearly 50 additional stations were reportedly found. Safeguard Defenders, a pan-Asian human rights organization, published an investigation Monday, called “Patrol and Persuade,” reporting that another 48 Chinese police service stations were operating abroad in addition to the 54 the group had identified in September. The reported locations span 53 countries, including four U.S.-based stations: two in New York City, one in Los Angeles and one set up by the Nantong Public Security Bureau in an undisclosed location. (https://www.foxnews.com/world/shut-them-down-chinese-secret-police-stations-reportedly-found-prompting-call-consulate-closures) Since the campaign’s launch in April 2021, 230,000 Chinese nationals have been “persuaded to return” home to face prosecution for alleged crimes, according to the Ministry of Public Security in China. China’s Foreign Ministry has denied that it’s running undeclared police forces and said the locations provide services to its citizens living abroad, like renewing IDs and driver’s licenses. However, the newly reported stations were set up as early as 2016, according to Safeguard Defenders’ investigation, disputing China’s statements that the operations were started in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Newsline: Israeli diplomat in China hospitalized in ‘prison conditions’ for COVID

An Israeli diplomat infected with COVID in China has revealed how he was forced to stay in a prison-like medical facility, where he was held in isolation for 10 “surreal” days. Israeli Consul-General in Shanghai Eddie Shapira said that he was sent to the facility “reminiscent of a prison” after coming down with mild symptoms. “I got sick with COVID and I recovered completely,” he wrote on Facebook. “I didn’t have any serious symptoms. The problem is that I caught it in the most wrong place on earth – in China.” The diplomat said that with even mild cases like his, the country treats patients as if it’s the early days of the pandemic. According to Shapira, “nothing could have prepared [him] for the experience,” even after working through the pandemic the past two years. (https://nypost.com/2022/12/05/israeli-diplomat-eddie-shapira-hospitalized-for-covid-in-china/) COVID patients are cordoned off in separate, designated hospitals for 10 days until they have fully recovered. Shapira described the hospital room where he received treatment as similar to an aquarium.

Newsline: Suspect arrested in Pakistan Embassy attack in Afghanistan

A member of the militant Islamic State group has been arrested in last week’s shooting attack targeting the Pakistani Embassy in Afghanistan’s capital of Kabul, the spokesman of the Taliban government said. (https://www.stamfordadvocate.com/news/article/IS-suspect-arrested-in-Pakistan-Embassy-attack-in-17631613.php) The attack, in which shots were fired at the embassy from a nearby building, triggered anger in Pakistan, and increased tensions between the two South Asian neighbors.

Newsline: Pakistan has no plans to close embassy in Kabul

Foreign Office Spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch says Pakistan has no plans to close its embassy in Kabul or withdraw its diplomats. (https://www.radio.gov.pk/03-12-2022/no-plan-to-close-embassy-from-kabul-foreign-office) Responding to a media query regarding attack on Pakistan Embassy in Kabul, she said the government is in contact with Afghan interim authorities and enhanced security measures are being taken to protect Pakistani diplomatic personnel and Missions in Afghanistan.

Newsline: Pakistani embassy in Kabul attacked

Pakistan’s embassy in Kabul came under attack on Friday with gunfire wounding a Pakistani security guard, officials said, in what Islamabad called an attempt to assassinate its head of mission, who was unhurt. It was not immediately clear who was behind the embassy attack. A spokesperson for Kabul police said the embassy compound was targeted by gunfire from a nearby building. Police had arrested one suspect and recovered two firearms, the statement said. (https://news.yahoo.com/pakistan-says-kabul-head-mission-124717250.html) Pakistan’s Foreign Office said the attack had been aimed at the head of mission, Ubaid-ur-Rehman Nizamani. It said Nizamani was safe, but a Pakistani security guard, Sepoy Israr Mohammad, was critically wounded in the attack while protecting the ambassador.

Newsline: Protests near Chinese diplomatic missions seen around the world

Antigovernment protests in China are stirring sympathetic activity near Chinese diplomatic missions and on university campuses around the world, adding an international dimension to a sensitive political moment. Demonstrators on Tuesday night packed the sidewalk across the street from China’s New York consulate in such numbers that they disrupted traffic and forced organizers to retreat to a nearby pier. Leading the crowd, a speaker said, “Release protesters…stand with people in China.” That was followed by someone shouting “Xi Jinping” and the crowd erupted with repeated calls of “Step down.” (https://www.wsj.com/articles/china-protests-mushroom-around-the-world-11669811448) The expressions of solidarity from New York to the streets of Istanbul are emanating from China’s vast diaspora, and specifically those frustrated with Xi Jinping‘s authoritarian leadership of the country, participants say. A spokesman for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs responded indirectly when asked about protests on Tuesday, saying the country enjoys rule of law.

Newsline: Israeli ambassador to India apologises after filmmaker’s remarks spark uproar

An Israeli filmmaker’s criticism of a film depicting the exodus of India’s majority Hindu population from the disputed region of Kashmir has sparked an uproar in India and prompted an apology from the Israeli ambassador. Nadav Lapid, an Israeli filmmaker who headed the jury at a government-organised film festival in the Indian state of Goa, said during closing ceremony that “The Kashmir Files” was a “propaganda movie” that had no place at a film festival, drawing a wave of criticism and outrage on social media. The film, a runaway hit in India when released in March this year, tells the fictional story of a student who discovers his Kashmiri Hindu parents were killed by Islamist militants – and not in an accident as his grandfather had told him. Lapid’s name was trending on Twitter for most of Tuesday and several users accused him of dismissing the portrayal of the exodus of Hindus from Muslim-majority Kashmir. Naor Gilon, Israel’s ambassador to India, Sri Lanka and Bhutan, apologised on Twitter. “As a human being I feel ashamed and want to apologise to our hosts for the bad manner in which we repaid them for their generosity and friendship,” he said. “I’m no film expert but I do know that it’s insensitive and presumptuous to speak about historic events before deeply studying them and which are an open wound in India because many of the involved are still around and still paying a price,” Gilon said in a thread addressed to Lapid. (https://www.fxempire.com/news/article/israeli-ambassador-to-india-apologises-after-filmmakers-remarks-spark-uproar-1213797) Reuters was not able to reach Lapid for a comment. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has praised the film, which focuses on the violent upheaval of 1989-90 in Kashmir. Supporters of Modi and the BJP have endorsed the movie while videos published online show people in movie audiences cheering, shouting slogans and waving Indian flags during screenings.