New York (22/12). Germany’s United Nations envoy, during his last scheduled UN Security Council meeting, appealed to China to free two detained Canadians for Christmas, prompting China’s deputy UN envoy to respond: “Out of the bottom of my heart: Good riddance.”
His comments is leading a diplomatic spat over China’s role in hostage taking, seemingly a new sport in Asian countries when it comes to uncomfortable affairs. Observers increasingly argue European powers are taking a harder stance towards China. The rather Chinese remarks did not help the situation either.
In March the German Chancellor Angela Merkel referred to Kissinger’s observation in a January 2020 speech, telling an audience in Berlin that it had prompted her to take a “fresh look at the map.” “As Europeans,” she said, “we need to think very hard about how we position ourselves.”
But after spearheading a pushback against the policies of Chinese President Xi Jinping, a campaign that culminated last spring when the EU declared China a “systemic rival,” Europe’s largest member state is wavering, keenly aware of its own vulnerabilities and wary, despite its concerns about China’s political and economic development, of following Washington down a path toward full-blown confrontation with Beijing.
Regardless of the peer power competition Germany is an economic powerhouse that just simply snub with unwarranted comments by what is viewed as a personal attack on the German ambassador who said in his last official speech to “call a spade a spade”.
Beijing an its diplomatic megaphones such as the China’s deputy UN ambassador Geng Shuang Beijing forgets that its China 2025, “dragon warrior” policy and South China Sea expansion has backfired and created exactly the opposite strategic outcome.
Instead of kicking the ‘foreigners’ out of Asia the U.S. and its allies, and the EU is an ally of the United States, reengaged in Asia and begun to challenge the hegemonic dominance of China. Economically, diplomatically, and militarily.
Germany finishes a two-year term on the 15-member council at the end of this month and Ambassador Christoph Heusgen plans to retire after more than 40 years as a diplomat.
German UN ambassador Christoph Heusgen asks China to free two Canadians who have been imprisoned for two years on espionage charges without evidence (in apparent retaliation to Canada‘s detention of a Chinese executive) pic.twitter.com/83TEzvLOa2
— Mathieu von Rohr (@mathieuvonrohr) December 23, 2020
“Let me end my tenure on the Security Council by appealing to my Chinese colleagues to ask Beijing for the release of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor. Christmas is the right moment for such a gesture,” Mr Heusgen told the council session, whose official agenda topic was Iran.
The Chinese instead of viewing this humanitarian gesture dig in and reacted as every hardline, communist regime would do. Deny and attack.
China also drawn the irk of U.S. military commanders as Beijing failed to meet their U.S. counterparts to discuss maritime safety in the South China Sea calling China as ‘unreliable’.
The U.S. military slammed China for failing to appear for virtual, senior-level meetings slated for this week, calling this “another example that China does not honor its agreements”, but Beijing said the U.S. version of events distorted the facts.
Kovrig, a former Canadian diplomat who was working as an adviser for the International Crisis Group think tank, and businessman Spavor were detained by Beijing in 2018 shortly after Canadian police picked up Huawei Technologies Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou on a US warrant.
China’s deputy UN ambassador Geng Shuang accused Mr Heusgen of abusing the Security Council to launch malicious attacks on other members “in an attempt to poison the working atmosphere”.
But China overlooks the minor fact that espionage charges are leveled by the Chinese against the two Canadians. Both arrests and charges seen as politically motivated.
“I wish to say something out of the bottom of my heart: Good riddance, Ambassador Heusgen,” Mr Geng said. “I am hoping that the council in your absence in the year 2021 will be in a better position to fulfil the responsibilities…for maintaining international peace and security.”
Mr Heusgen also used the Security Council meeting to advise Russia’s deputy UN ambassador Dmitry Polyanskiy to read certain articles about Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny, who said he had tricked a Russian secret agent into disclosing details of a botched plot to kill him. Russia’s FSB security service dismissed the recording as a fake.
The German ambassador has spared with the Russians on a range of issues such as the support for the Syrian regime drawing flak from the Russian side.
Mr Polyanskiy replied: “It seems he’s developed a certain dependency on the council, there’s never a meeting without criticism of Russia even if that’s not suitable for the subject matter. I hope that after Jan 1 that Christoph’s symptoms will improve.”
The German diplomats were at odds with the Russian after president Putin last year suggested a new security architecture with Europe reflecting the Russian ambitions to be included in the European Union, a dream much part of the Russian post Soviet Union collapse.
Putin was quoted by the Financial Times last year, “Despite the “misunderstandings of the past decades”, he said Russia “is profoundly European . . . We believe in a Europe that stretches from Lisbon to Vladivostok”.”