Diplomacy (international)

MP plans lawsuit against Global

Toronto MP Han Dong, who recently stepped away from the Liberal caucus to sit as an Independent, said today that he will sue Global News for reporting that he had asked a Chinese diplomat two years ago to delay the release of two detained Canadians. “I took every available opportunity to advocate on behalf of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor and to call for their immediate release,” Dong said. It’s reported that the Prime Minister’s Office found no “actionable evidence” in a transcript of Dong’s conversation with the diplomat. [node:read-more:link]

Growing U.S. interest in North

A decision by the U.S. Administration to nominate Alaskan geographer Mike Sfraga as an ambassador-at-large for the Arctic is seen as a direct response to Russia’s ramped-up northern military presence and Alaska Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski says that dealing with national security threats from China as well as Russia and China in the region will be a challenge. [node:read-more:link]

Erdoğan presses Putin on war

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called today for an “immediate cessation” of Russia’s war on Ukraine. Appealing directly to President Vladimir Putin during a telephone call, he also thanked the Russian leader for extending the Black Sea Grain Initiative which enables Ukrainian grain exports during the conflict. [node:read-more:link]

Canada-U.S. interests “interwoven”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U.S. President Joe Biden used a day of talks in Ottawa March 24 to tackle a range of shared issues, including defence and security, third-country refugees, Haiti, clean energy and trade in what Trudeau said was a demonstration of how their countries’ interests are “interwoven.” Biden, on his first visit to Canada as President, agreed, saying, “I can't think of a challenge we haven’t met together.” [node:read-more:link]

Refugee deal with U.S.

Almost simultaneously with the arrival in Ottawa of President Joe Biden today, it’s reported that Canada and the U.S. have an agreement permitting them to turn away asylum seekers at their borders. Disclosed by an official in Washington, the agreement evidently is scheduled to be signed before Biden heads home March 24. [node:read-more:link]

Xi-Putin “marriage of convenience”

On the heels of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s two-day visit to Moscow for talks with Russia President Vladimir Putin U.S. Secretary of State is dismissing the relationship as a “marriage of convenience.” Describing Russia March 22 as “very much the junior partner” in the relationship, Blinken noted that China had so far declined to provide weapons to Moscow for its war in Ukraine. [node:read-more:link]

Toronto Liberal MP quits caucus

Toronto MP Han Dong, first elected to the House of Commons as a Liberal candidate in 2019, has decided to sit as an Independent while denying “unverified and anonymous” claims that he had lobbied to stall repatriation of the Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig from China in 2021. Dong admits speaking with a Chinese official but said March 22 that the allegation of interference is “absolutely untrue.” [node:read-more:link]

Free visas for Ukrainians extended

Immigration, Refugees & Citizenship Minister Sean Fraser announced today that Ukrainians and their families now have until July 15 to apply for a free visitor visa which enables them to work and study for up to three years. The previous deadline was March 31. [node:read-more:link]

Climate report warrants “hard long look”

Environment & Climate Change Minister Steven Guilbeault said March 20 that the government will take a “hard long look” at the latest UN climate change panel’s latest warning about carbon emissions. “It's one thing to simply say, ‘well, you know, we want to reach this goal’ but we have to give ourselves the means to get there,” he said. “We do that now in Canada for 2050. We will obviously need to take a second hard long look at what the IPCC is proposing for 2040.” [node:read-more:link]

China accuses Canada of “smear”

Confirmation that the RCMP are investigating two Chinese “covert police stations” in Quebec has prompted China’s foreign ministry to say that Canada should “stop sensationalizing and hyping the matter and stop attacks and smears.” The stations ostensibly are supposed to be helping expatriates with paperwork, among other things, but there have been allegations of intimidation and harassment the RCMP say “won’t be tolerated.” [node:read-more:link]

Russia annoyed by Minister Joly

A recent comment by Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly about “potential regime change” in Russia predictably ruffled feathers in Moscow. The Kremlin said today that Canada’s chargé d’affaires, Brian Ebel, had been told off about the “Russophobic attack.” [node:read-more:link]

Japan aligned with Ukraine

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida began a three-day visit to Ukraine today by laying flowers at a town which has become a symbol if Russian atrocities against civilians. “I represent the Japanese citizens to express my condolences to those who lost their lives,” said Kishida, the last G-7 leader to visit. Ukraine’s deputy foreign minister expressed gratitude for Japan’s “strong support and contribution to our future victory.” [node:read-more:link]

Chinese leader visits Russia

Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Moscow today, his first visit since V=his Russian counterpart launched his “special military operation” in Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin is framing the event as evidence that it has a powerful ally to counter what he says is an increasingly hostile West. Admidst growing concerns that China is willing to ship arms to Russia, Xi has portrayed China as a global peacemaker hoping to broker an end to the Russia-Ukraine conflict. [node:read-more:link]

Kosovo-Serbia to normalize ties?

An EU-brokered plan to normalize relations between Kosovo and Serbia has been tentantive accepted. The weekend deal followed 12 hours of EU talks with Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic after the two met separately with EU officials. Kosovo declared independence in 2008 from Serbia, which has continued to claim it as an autonomous province. [node:read-more:link]

Chinese leader off to Moscow

Russian President Vladimir Putin will play host to his Chinese counterpart March 20-21 to discuss what Kremlin officials said today would be “a comprehensive partnership and strategic cooperation.” For its part, Beijing said China would uphold “an objective and fair position on the war in Ukraine and “play a constructive role in promoting talks for peace.” [node:read-more:link]


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