Bratislava, Slovakia – Slovakia has expelled a Vietnamese diplomat as tensions continue to grow between the two countries over a kidnapping and abduction scandal dating back to 2017, the TASR news agency reported.
Slovakia expels Vietnamese diplomat
Slovakia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs handed a note verbale to Vietnamese ambassador Minh Trong Duong on Wednesday, declaring one of the diplomats of the embassy persona non grata in the country.
The diplomat in question was given 48 hours to leave Slovakia.
“Slovakia decided to take this serious step in connection with the final decision of a German court of appeal on the abduction of a Vietnamese national; while in this case, the ministry promised sharp diplomatic consequences at the time when the very serious suspicions of abuse of Slovakia’s hospitality are officially confirmed”, the ministry said in a statement.
The expulsion of the Vietnamese envoy from Slovakia is only the latest development in a years-long saga surrounding what observers have described as a “Cold War” style kidnapping scandal. In 2018, Slovakia had already threatened to freeze all diplomatic ties with Vietnam over the incident.
A tri-country kidnapping and abduction scandal
In 2017, Vietnamese national and former manager of a major state-owned energy company Trinh Xuan Thanh was reportedly abducted in Berlin, where he was seeking political asylum after facing corruption charges back home.
According to German media and authorities, who started investigating the case for possible infringement of international law and Germany‘s territorial integrity by Vietnam, Trinh Xuan Thanh was then transported by van to Slovakia before being secretly transferred to a vehicle of the official motorcade of Vietnamese public security minister To Lam, at the time on an official visit in Slovakia, while on his way to Bratislava’s airport.
Trinh Xuan Thanh, who later received two life sentences after a speed trial in Vietnam, was added to the official delegation leaving Slovakia and flown back to Hanoi… on a Slovak government plane.