119

The UK government is not above the law. UK law requires the government to pursue fugitives. There is no tradition in the UK of allowing fugitives to go free if they are able to remain free for a long enough time. Instead, there is a tradition of the rule of Law, and the expectation that the government will act to uphold the Law. The case is exceptional ...


112

After the Crimea annexation, the social media trolling during the US election and the recent Skripal incident, the public image of the Russian government in the western world turned from bad to worse. So the comparison between Putin 2018, Putin 2012 and Medvedev 2008 is not necessarily appropriate. Trump is under suspicion of colluding with the Russian ...


87

Ok, let's get this down straight. The Guardian, 2017-04-21: The US attorney general has explicity said that getting Assange is a priority. Sydney Morning Herald, 2012-09-27: The US military has declared Assange and Wikileaks an "enemy of state". Independent, 2010-12-17: After 7 months of isolation detention, Manning is offered a plea bargain if (s)he, erm,...


84

There have been a few high-profile ambassadors who did actually defect, the highest being the deputy ambassador in London in 2016. As user4012's answer speculated, the regime does hold family members hostage. From the article: North Korean diplomats generally must leave one member of their immediate family in Pyongyang — the regime’s insurance against ...


84

From the USA point of view there are two types of arguments. The first ones are those that state that the fewer nuclear capable countries there are, the better1: Fewer nuclear warheads at risk of being captured/sold to rogue actors. Non-nuclear countries are less of a worry if they become unstable. Every foreign country, no matter how friendly, is at the ...


72

The UK courts have issued an arrest warrant for Julian Assange - for failing to surrender whilst on bail. Assange took this matter to Westminster Magistrates’ Court relatively recently. It's well worth reading the full rulings by Emma Arbuthnot, the Senior District Judge. There are two ruling documents, the first document focuses on if the arrest warrant it ...


66

I can't answer about North Korea (as nobody really has much visibility into how they operate), but it's known and clear how other countries (like USSR) did it in the past. It's a combination of: One's family being hostage. If a person defects, their family WILL suffer, and they know it. Oh, and having a family to make suffer is more likely than not a pre-...


65

It is an open secret that most diplomatic missions all around the world are also involved in intelligence service operations. This isn't a Russian thing. Everyone does that. So forcing another government to replace personnel also inconveniences their intelligence services. But unless they actually expel the whole diplomatic mission and reappropriate their ...


58

From the pre-amble to the convention: Realizing that the purpose of such privileges and immunities is not to benefit individuals but to ensure the efficient performance of the functions of diplomatic missions as representing States, The purpose of allowing a country to nominate a courier to carry mail is to allow for the delivery of mail from a mission ...


54

Update - WH Statement According to the White House spokesperson Sean Spicer, Trump seemed to have requested the resignation of Flynn due to a "trust issue". President Donald Trump asked for Michael Flynn's resignation after he lost trust in his national security adviser for misleading Vice President Mike Pence over his calls with Russia's ...


49

The US had five(now four) consulates in China: Chengdu, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Shenyang, Wuhan. The United States also has an embassy in Beijing. They all have their own consular/embassy district, just like this picture quoted from Wikipedia: You can see: Xinjiang is included in the Beijing consular district. Tibet is in Chengdu consular district. If Chengdu ...


47

Leaders of democracies are expected to advocate Human Rights and democratic processes, at least by words. This doesn't mean all diplomatic connections need to be broken with autocrats, but at least to refrain from supporting repression or clear infringements of democratic principles. One of the most important of those principles are fair elections. Because ...


46

If the UK had accepted Ecuador's request to make Mr Assange an officially accredited diplomat, he would been immediately entitled to protection under the Vienna Convention, to which the UK is a ratified signatory. Specifically he would have enjoyed Article 29 which explicitly forbids the arrest of a diplomat. The person of a diplomatic agent shall be ...


45

No. International treaties do not have force of law. The actual statute that has force of law in the relevant jurusdiction, i.e. the U.K. where the U.K. police would be acting, is The Diplomatic Privileges Act 1964. This imports parts of the Vienna Convention into law, the parts that are explicitly given in the schedule to the Act, and makes several ...


45

According to VOA, it hasn't been this blatant before, at least as actual elections go: During his time in office, Trump's predecessor, Barack Obama, weighed in on Brexit in 2016, provoking fury from the referendum's supporters for saying London would be at the "back of the queue" for a trade deal if it left the European Union, noted Ben Riley-...


44

I think one of the best explanations for this comes in the preambulatory clauses of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations which codified diplomatic immunity, and which has been ratified by 192 states. It reads: The States Parties to the present Convention, Recalling that peoples of all nations from ancient times have recognized the status of ...


37

The US President can receive clothing as a gift. They, along with the Vice President, are pretty much the only federal employees who can accept substantial gifts, even if they come from 'prohibited sources', as long as it comes from a member of the American public; receiving gifts from foreign governments/officials without the consent of Congress is ...


36

Without privileged diplomatic information, it's impossible to answer this question definitively. Diplomatic decisions of this sort are carefully weighed so that they appear as an equal response, not an escalation or capitulation, but no one outside the inner circles knows exactly what factors are being weighed in the decision. However, it is worth noting ...


35

Enough deterrent The United States hasn't invaded North Korea in over sixty years. Why does North Korea need nuclear weapons? The existing threat of artillery hitting Seoul is more than sufficient to prevent an invasion. We know this because the US hasn't invaded North Korea to prevent the development of nuclear weapons because of the more conventional ...


32

To save face. Allowing him to leave after spending millions of Pounds on effectively detaining him would be viewed as a loss by the government. It would also be a sign that people can evade the law and "get away with it", although some would argue that being stuck in the embassy is itself a punishment. When the government eventually changes it is possible ...


31

Here are some more points, albeit rather "informal", from CNN Location, location, location: It's just close enough for Kim to fly relatively easily from Pyongyang. Ties to the US: Singapore is also one of Washington's closest Asian security and trading partners. The embassies: The US and North Korea both have embassies in Singapore. Trading ...


30

It's impossible to know for sure, but it likely has to do with family. North Korea enforces a "three generations of punishment" rule. It's not a stretch to imagine the regime going after your extended family if you're a diplomat and defect.


27

One of the functions of the embassy is to promote exports from its home country. In fact many have a specific position for this: Commercial attaché Consulate or embassy staff-member specializing in business and trade matters. His or her main job is to promote export from the home country and usually also includes procurement of food stuff and raw ...


27

On paper the UK wants him for escaping extradition to Sweden over the two rape charges he got over there. He did this, as you know, by seeking refuge into the Ecuador embassy instead of showing up during his hearing in court. Call it rule of law or saving face as has been done in the two answers so far if you feel like slapping a name on it. In practice it's ...


27

Several important factors impose the pressure against the diplomats' home country (in general and in this particular case): Expelling the diplomats quite often ruins the entire spy network; Expelling the diplomats is often only the first step in a chain of escalating events; This particular expulsion is unique by its size and future consequences. Ruin the ...


26

The State Department was originally created as the Department of Foreign Affairs in 1787, shortly after the Constitution was adopted. Later that year, it was renamed to Department of State, and given various State-relationship duties as well. The first of these (defined in that same statute) was the responsibility to pass the decisions of Congress on to ...


26

Flynn's discussions with the Russian Ambassador prior to January 20 could be viewed as a violation of the Logan Act, which prohibits private citizens from negotiating with foreign governments who are having a dispute with the USA. At the time those conversations took place, Flynn was a private citizen and Obama was president. Allegedly, Flynn told the ...


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