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Newsline: China’s special envoy pledges efforts for political solution to Ukraine crisis

China will make concrete efforts for a political solution to the Ukraine crisis, the Chinese foreign ministry quoted special envoy Li Hui as saying on Saturday. China has always adhered to an objective and fair position on Ukraine, argued for peace and promoted talks, Li was quoted as telling Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. (https://neuters.de/world/china-will-make-concrete-efforts-political-solution-ukraine-crisis-special-envoy-2023-05-27/) Li, China’s special representative for Eurasian affairs and former ambassador to Russia, held meetings and talks with Lavrov, and Deputy Foreign Ministers Andrey Rudenkon and Mikhail Galuzin. The two sides exchanged views on China-Russia relations and a political settlement for the Ukrainian crisis and agreed that President Xi Jinping’s recent visit to Russia further deepened political mutual trust, China’s foreign ministry said in a readout of the conversation. Li’s visit to Russia was the final stop in a multi-country tour that Beijing said was aimed at discussing a “political settlement” to the Ukraine crisis.

Newsline: China summons Japanese envoy

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Sun Weidong summoned Japanese Ambassador to China Hideo Tarumi to lodge solemn representations over the G7 Hiroshima summit. Hideo Tarumi was summoned for ‘over-hyping’ China-related issues at the G7 summit. Sun Weidong pointed out that the G7 adheres to the confrontation between camps and the cold war mentality and its actions violate the general trend of history, objective facts and international morality. “Japan, as the rotating presidency of the G7 this year, collaborated with relevant countries to smear and attack China in the series of activities and joint declarations of the G7 Hiroshima summit, grossly interfering in China’s internal affairs, violating the basic principles of international law and the spirit of the four political documents between China and Japan, and harming China. China is strongly dissatisfied and firmly opposes it,” Sun Weidong said in a statement. (https://www.msn.com/en-in/news/world/china-summons-japan-s-ambassador-for-over-hyping-beijing-related-issues-at-g7-summit/ar-AA1btZ2D) According to a statement issued by the Chinese Foreign Ministry on Sunday night, Sun said Japan, the rotating presidency of the G7, has colluded with other countries in attacking China, and grossly interfering in China’s internal affairs.

Newsline: China urges foreign embassies to remove signs showing support for Ukraine

Chinese authorities have asked foreign embassies and international organisations based in Beijing not to use the outer walls of their buildings for “political propaganda,” apparently referring to signs showing support for Ukraine. The notice from the Chinese Foreign Ministry urged the embassies and international organizations not to use the outer walls of their buildings for propaganda and “avoid causing conflicts between states.” (https://news.yahoo.com/china-urges-foreign-embassies-remove-154800793.html) Many embassies in Beijing have put up signboards depicting the Ukraine flag and with messages in Chinese and English, such as #StandWithUkraine, to demonstrate their solidarity.

Newsline: Top Chinese envoy to visit Ukraine, Russia on ‘peace’ mission

A top Chinese envoy began a tour of Ukraine, Russia and other European countries on Monday in a trip Beijing says is aimed at discussing a “political settlement” to the Ukraine crisis. Li Hui, China’s special representative for Eurasian affairs and former ambassador to Russia, will also visit Poland, France, Germany on the multi-day trip, the foreign ministry announced without providing a detailed schedule. Li is due to visit Ukraine on Tuesday and Wednesday, a Ukrainian government official told Reuters, declining to provide further details. A Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson said the specifics Li’s itinerary would be released in due course. (https://neuters.de/world/europe/top-chinese-envoy-visit-ukraine-russia-peace-mission-2023-05-15/) The visit comes weeks after Chinese President Xi Jinping held a phone call with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskiy in late April, in the first talks between the two leaders since the war began. Zelenskiy described the call as “long and meaningful” on Twitter, while Xi said China would focus on promoting peace, although Beijing’s proposals to end the conflict have been met with some skepticism in the West given its ties with Russia. Since February, Beijing has promoted a 12-point proposal for a political settlement of the Ukraine crisis.

Newsline: US embassy did not comment after citizen sentenced to life in prison for espionage in China

The U.S. embassy declined to comment after a 78-year-old U.S. citizen and Hong Kong resident was on Monday convicted of espionage and sentenced to life imprisonment by a court in eastern China. A U.S. embassy spokesperson said in an emailed statement in response to Reuters that it was aware of the case, but due to privacy considerations had no further comment. “The Department of State has no greater priority than the safety and security of U.S. citizens overseas,” the spokesperson added. (https://neuters.de/world/asia-pacific/us-citizen-sentenced-life-prison-espionage-chinese-court-2023-05-15/) John Shing-wan Leung was also stripped of his political rights after a brief trial on Monday, the Suzhou Intermediate People’s Court said in the statement. The court added that Leung was a Hong Kong resident and a U.S. passport holder. The court gave no specifics of his alleged offence, but said: “Suzhou’s National Security Bureau began investigating Leung on April 15, 2021, on suspicion of spying.” The sentencing comes amid growing tensions between China and the U.S. on a number of fronts, from accusations of Chinese spying and human rights abuses, to U.S. efforts to build up military alliances to curb China’s ambitions toward Taiwan and in the Pacific.

Newsline: China’s top diplomat had “candid” talks with US National Security Advisor

US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan met with top Chinese diplomat Wang Yi in Vienna this week, the White House said Thursday, seeking to maintain communication amid soaring tensions. Both sides described the meeting in carefully choreographed statements as “candid, substantive and constructive,” mirroring one another’s language in the tentative, high-level rapprochement. Topics discussed included the war in Ukraine and “cross-Strait issues,” according to the White House, referring to Taiwan, which has been the target of increasingly heated rhetoric from Beijing in recent months. Wang “comprehensively expounded upon China’s solemn position” on Taiwan, Chinese state-run news agency Xinhua said, adding the two diplomats “agreed to continue to make good use of this strategic channel for communication.” (https://news.yahoo.com/top-us-china-officials-meet-153017108.html) Washington and Beijing’s historically strained relationship has tightened further in recent months over commercial, political and military influence, particularly in the Pacific region.

Newsline: Diplomats not allowed to attend trial in China

Diplomats from several countries including the United States said on Thursday they were prevented from attending the subversion trial of rights activist and lawyer Guo Feixiong in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou. “Today, U.S. diplomats were blocked from attending the court proceedings of Guo Feixiong, a lawyer who is facing trial in Guangzhou for his peaceful advocacy,” the U.S. Embassy in China said via its Twitter account on Thursday. “We continue to call for Mr. Guo’s speedy release so he may be reunited with his family.” (https://neuters.de/world/asia-pacific/diplomats-turned-away-trial-prominent-activist-china-2023-05-11/) Diplomats from Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Netherlands and Britain were also turned away and told by a court clerk that foreign visitors would need prior approval from higher authorities, four of the diplomats told Reuters, requesting anonymity. The Guangzhou Intermediate People’s Court and China’s foreign ministry did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Guo, 58, has gained international attention for his campaigns on issues including corruption and censorship and his allegations of mistreatment by Chinese authorities during more than a decade spent behind bars on previous charges. His latest detention in 2022 came a year after he was stopped from leaving the country to visit his dying wife in the U.S., sparking further outcry.

Newsline: China expels Canadian diplomat in tit-for-tat move

China on Tuesday expelled a Canadian diplomat in Shanghai in a retaliatory move after Ottawa told a Toronto-based Chinese diplomat to leave, escalating tense relations amid concerns about Chinese influence in Canada. Canada expelled Chinese diplomat Zhao Wei on Monday after an intelligence report accused him of trying to target a Canadian lawmaker critical of China’s treatment of its Uyghur Muslim minority. “We will not tolerate any form of foreign interference,” Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly said on Monday. In response to Canada’s “unreasonable actions”, China told Jennifer Lynn Lalonde, consul of the Canadian consulate in Shanghai, to leave China by May 13, according to the Chinese foreign ministry in a statement. “In response to the Canadian side’s unreasonable provocation, China has adopted corresponding retaliatory measures,” said Wang Wenbin, spokesperson at the Chinese foreign ministry, at a regular news conference. Wang added that if Canada did not heed Beijing’s warning and continues to “act recklessly”, China will “fight back resolutely and forcefully, and the Canadian side must bear all the consequences.” (https://neuters.de/world/americas/canada-expels-chinese-diplomat-accused-targeting-lawmaker-2023-05-08/) China reserves the right to respond further, the foreign ministry added.

Newsline: Protest letter by South Korea’s embassy criticised in China

China’s hawkish state media tabloid, the Global Times, criticised a letter of protest by South Korea’s embassy in Beijing, the latest public spat amid worsening ties between the Asian neighbours. South Korea’s recent diplomatic push towards Japan and the U.S. would “induce and aggravate the … collapse of the situation in northeast Asia” the paper said, a day after Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s landmark visit to Seoul. The editorial comment followed a letter published by the embassy on its website on Friday that “expressed strong regret over a series of unreasonable slanderous articles” by the paper. The articles used “sensational, provocative and inappropriate vocabulary to denigrate not only our leader but also the Korean government’s foreign policy,” the embassy added. In turn, the Global Times criticised the embassy’s “brutal interference in (its) independent reporting”. (https://www.investing.com/news/commodities-news/chinese-state-tabloid-criticises-protest-letter-from-south-korean-embassy-3075393) Foreign embassies in China rarely offer public criticism of reporting by Chinese state media. South Korea’s embassy in China did not immediately respond to a request for comment. China’s foreign ministry distanced itself from the state-affiliated tabloid at a daily briefing on Monday.

Newsline: China’s top diplomat tells U.S. ambassador Sino-US relations need to be stabilised

China’s Foreign Minister Qin Gang said on Monday it is imperative to stabilise Sino-U.S. relations after a series of “erroneous words and deeds” threw ties back into a deep freeze. Qin, in a meeting in Beijing with U.S. ambassador Nicholas Burns, stressed in particular that the United States must correct its handling of the Taiwan issue and stop the hollowing out of the “one China” principle. “A series of erroneous words and deeds by the United States since then have undermined the hard-won positive momentum of Sino-U.S. relations,” Qin told Burns, the Chinese foreign ministry said in a statement. “The agenda of dialogue and cooperation agreed by the two sides has been disrupted, and the relationship between the two countries has once again encountered cold ice.” (https://neuters.de/world/asia-pacific/china-foreign-minister-says-imperative-stabilise-sino-us-relations-2023-05-08/) The relationship between the world’s two biggest economies sank to a low last year when then speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi paid an official visit to democratically governed Taiwan, angering China, which claims the island as its territory. In response, Beijing severed formal communications channels with the United States including one between their militaries. The tension between the two superpowers eased in November when U.S. and Chinese leaders Joe Biden and Xi Jinping met at a G20 summit in Indonesia and pledged more frequent dialogue. Tensions flared in February when a Chinese high-altitude balloon appeared in U.S. airspace and in response U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken cancelled a visit to Beijing.