China backs down from ambassador’s statement on sovereignty of former Soviet states, Crimea’s status

25 April, 11:15 AM
China’s Ambassador to France, Lu Shaye (Photo:REUTERS/Benoit Tessier)

China’s Ambassador to France, Lu Shaye (Photo:REUTERS/Benoit Tessier)

Remarks by China’s Ambassador to France, Lu Shaye, questioning the sovereignty of former Soviet countries, are merely his personal opinion, reads a statement posted on the embassy’s website on April 24.

The ambassador’s comments about Ukraine and Crimea during a TV debate were not political, but personal, and they should not be “overly interpreted,” said the statement.

Beijing's official position, the statement said, is "unchanged and clear," and China is ready to contribute "to the political settlement of the Ukrainian crisis."

China uses the phrase "Ukrainian crisis" to refer to Russia's war of aggression on Ukraine.

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The embassy declared its consistent position on the sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity of all countries, and reiterated its support for the principles of the UN Charter.

"After the collapse of the Soviet Union, China was one of the first countries to establish diplomatic relations with the respective states," the Foreign Ministry said.

“The Chinese side respects the status of sovereign countries after the collapse of the Soviet Union.”

Earlier, in an interview with the French TV channel LCI, Ambassador Shaye said that former Soviet states "do not have effective status in international law." Commenting on occupied Crimea, he said that it "depends on how the problem is perceived", and the peninsula "was at the beginning – Russian".

"These ex-Soviet countries don’t have an effective status in international law because there was no international agreement to materialize their status as sovereign countries," the diplomat said.

After the outrageous remarks, the leaders of the Baltic states and Ukraine criticized the Chinese representative and demanded explanations.

France declared its "full solidarity" with the sovereign countries of the former Soviet Union, and the European Parliament called on the French Foreign Ministry to expel the Chinese ambassador.

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