By Ayhan Simsek
The alleged kidnapping of a Vietnamese politician and former oil executive in Berlin by foreign agents has sparked a diplomatic crisis between the two countries.
A spokesman for Germany’s Foreign Ministry accused the Vietnamese authorities on Wednesday of violating international law, and said Hanoi’s ambassador to Berlin had been summoned over the incident.
Vietnam’s intelligence officer at the country’s Berlin embassy has been declared persona non grata and given 48 hours to leave the country, Martin Schaefer also confirmed.
Local media reported that 51-year-old Trinh Xuan Thanh was kidnapped on July 23 in Berlin's Tiergarten by several armed men and secretly transported to Vietnam.
The Vietnamese politician, who faces several corruption charges, had sought asylum in Germany but Hanoi had demanded his arrest and extradition.
Speaking at a news conference in Berlin, Schaefer said: “We are certain that the agencies of the Vietnamese state took actions here in recent days, which can only be described by the terms of criminal law -- kidnapping, abduction.”
Schaefer called on the Vietnamese authorities to immediately allow Trinh Xuan Thanh to return to Germany from Vietnam, and said Berlin reserved the right to take further political and economic action.
Vietnam’s embassy in Berlin has not yet commented on the reports.