The government of Ukraine, Latvia and Lithuania They denounced the statements of the Chinese ambassador in France, who questioned the ownership of the Crimean peninsula to Ukraine and questioned the sovereignty of the post-Soviet countries.
The controversy was unleashed after an interview by Lu Shaye, Chinese ambassador to Franceon Friday for the French news channel ICL. When asked if Crimea was Ukrainian, Lu replied: “It depends on how you look at the problem. There is a story. Crimea was Russian at first.
He argued that the countries that emerged as independent nations after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, “have no effective status under international law because there is no international agreement that confirms their status as sovereign nations.
The countries that emerged from the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991 were later admitted as sovereign members of the United Nations.
Given this, Mykhaïlo Podoliak, adviser to the Ukrainian presidency, reacted on Twitter: “It is strange to hear an absurd version, of the history of Crimea, from a representative of a scrupulous country about its millennial history.”.
“All the countries of the former USSR have a clear sovereign status enshrined in international law,” he added, calling on Lu Shaye “not to repeat Russian propaganda.”
From Latvia, the Minister of Foreign Affairs also expressed his repudiation. “The Chinese ambassador to France’s statements on international law and the sovereignty of nations are completely unacceptable,” the chief diplomat, Edgars Rinkevics, wrote on Twitter. “We await explanations from the Chinese side and a complete retraction of this statement.”
His Lithuanian counterpart, Gabrielius Landsbergis, added: “If anyone is still wondering why the Baltic states do not trust China to ‘mediate peace in Ukraine’, here is a Chinese ambassador arguing that Crimea is Russian and that the borders of our countries have no legal basis.”
A statement issued late on Saturday by the French Foreign Ministry said it had “learned with dismay of the ambassador’s remarks.”
“It is for China to say whether these statements reflect its position, which we hope is not the case,” the statement added.
The timing of the controversy is embarrassing for French President Emmanuel Macron, who visited Beijing this month to encourage Chinese President Xi Jinping to pressure Russian leader Vladimir Putin to end his invasion of Ukraine.
Macron’s trip has caused anger among some Western allies who are skeptical of China’s intentions, given Xi’s formal alliance with the equally authoritarian Putin.
Although Beijing says it is officially neutral, Chinese President Xi Jinping has never condemned the Russian invasion and has never spoken to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on the phone.
Xi recently went to Moscow to reaffirm his partnership with Russian President Vladimir Putin under the guise of an anti-Western front.
Recognized Wolf Warrior
Lu has previously acknowledged being part of the so-called class of “Wolf Warrior” of Chinese regime diplomats, a nickname given to those who vehemently respond to critics they perceive to be hostile to China.
In January 2019, he accused Canada of “white supremacy” for calling for the release of two Canadians detained in China, days after Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Canada at the request of the United States.
After assuming a new position in Paris, he sparked a new diplomatic row in 2021 by calling a critical French investigator a “little thug” and a “troll” on Twitter.
He also took aim at French lawmakers who were considering a trip to Taiwan, which China is threatening to seize by force.
Summoned by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs for his “insults and threats”, he delayed his appearance citing “schedule problems”. This caused further irritation in Paris. “Neither France nor Europe are a doormat,” the Minister for European Affairs, Clement Beaune, warned at the time. “When he is summoned as ambassador, he pays a visit to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.”
(With information from AFP)
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