8.7 C
Spain
Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Trump imprecise about embassies and consulates

Must read

The Spanish Ministry of Truth

On September 15th, 2020 the Spanish Council of Ministers approved the Draft Bill of Democratic Memory that will punish those who disagree...

In memoriam Lee Teng-hui, first native President of Taiwan

Lee Teng-hui, one of Asia’s most relevant leaders of the 20th century, passed away on July 30th, aged 97.

About the very different drinking culture in Taiwan

In Mandarin, days and months don’t have proper names like in Western languages, but are just numbered. So the 9th of September...

The first James Bond turns 90

Sean Connery, the first actor to play fictional British secret agent James Bond 007, created in 1953 by English writer Ian Fleming...
Flying Dutchman
Flying Dutchman
For detailed biographical information, please check the very first article of this blog. Thanks!

The US State Department announced on July 20th that the Chinese consulate in Houston, the first to open in the United States after both countries established diplomatic ties on January 1st, 1979, would have to close by July 24th.

In the escalating confrontation between the two superpowers, China on July 24th finally reacted as expected by demanding that the US consulate in Chengdu in the Chinese province of Sichuan must also be shut down, US President Donald Trump hold a press conference on July 22nd.

On the occasion, an unidentified reporter asked him whether he would order the closure of more Chinese “embassies” on US soil and Trump replied without hesitating that it was “always possible”. Interestingly enough, both didn’t seem to be aware of the inaccuracy of both the question and the answer, as both meant “consulates”. Although the terms embassy and consulate are often used interchangeably, there is actually a difference and such a delicate situation requires precise language. I‘m particularly aware of this topic because during my almost 20 years in Taiwan I got professionally very involved with foreign policy.

An embassy is a permanent diplomatic mission and always located in a country’s capital city. It represents the home country, handling major diplomatic issues such as negotiations, preserving the rights of citizens living abroad and providing assistance to those traveling. An ambassador typically gets appointed by the highest level of the home government and acts as its chief diplomat and spokesperson.

By contrast, a consulate is a smaller version and generally located in the larger tourist cities of a country. Its chief diplomat, the consul, handles minor diplomatic issues such as issuing visas, aiding in trade relations, but also taking care of immigrants, tourists and expatriates.

Closing an embassy isn’t tantamount to ending the diplomatic recognition of another country and shutting down a consulate even less so, though it’s a clear sign that bilateral ties are strained and it could be the first step. Despite the current spat between Washington and Peking, that’s highly unlikely and would lead to an extremely serious international crisis. For the sake of world peace, let’s hope for a quick rapprochement.

P.D.: For complex political reasons, and although Israel considers Jerusalem its capital, so far only the US and Guatemala have relocated their embassy there. The other representations of the 159 nations that recognize the Zionist state remain in Tel Aviv or surrounding cities.

- Advertisement -

More articles

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisement -

Latest article

An epic struggle between good and evil in Spain?

The man that decisively shaped twentieth-century Spain for almost four decades, Generalissimo Francisco Franco, died peacefully on November 20th, 1975 in a...

Spain’s astonishing rise from the ashes after the civil war

After the end of the three-year-long Spanish Civil War on April 1st, 1939, reconstruction under Generalissimo Francisco Franco began quickly and virtually...

November 20th, 1975: Arias Navarro announces Franco’s death

45 years ago on November 20th, 1975, the man that had shaped Spain for almost four decades, Generalissimo Francisco Franco, died in...

Bars or clinics? Different priorities in Spain and Taiwan

Spain is well-known for its amazing number of bars, which have little in common with those in the United States. They are...

The world’s biggest free-trade deal signed virtually in Hanoi

On November 15th, 2020 Burma, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam as well as Australia, China, Japan,...