In the age of COVID-19, world leaders struggle to adjust to online diplomacy

Satoshi Sugiyama, The Japan Times

Photo by cromaconceptovisual on Pixabay
Photo by Lukas Bieri on Pixabay

The Covid-19 pandemic has left traditional diplomacy ground to a halt, superseded by virtual video conferences devoid of close personal contact that has been deemed indispensable in carrying out foreign affairs. While cybersecurity and infrastructure capable of supporting fast and reliable connectivity remain as paramount concerns, one change in the post-COVID-19 world could be global diplomats turning to online diplomacy. The replacement has left many diplomats — deprived of one-on-one, face-to-face parleys to gain trust, and also of opportunities to read between the lines by examining subtle tones and facial cues and then seek some middle ground in negotiations — uneasy.

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