OAN Geraldyn Berry
UPDATED 3:15 PM – Monday, April 24, 2023
Last week’s remarks by the Chinese ambassador to France and Monaco, Lu Shaye, sparked significant criticism which prompted Beijing to provide better clarification.
On Monday, the spokesperson for China’s foreign ministry, Mao Ning, said that China respected the sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity of all countries and upheld the purposes and principles of the United Nations (UN) Charter.
According to Mao, in the early 1990s, Beijing was among the first governments to establish diplomatic relations with newly independent states.
Later on, Monday, in a statement published by AFP, the Chinese embassy in Paris released a statement that Lu’s words were a personal point of view and should not be misconstrued.
This comes as China’s ambassador to France made a statement saying that the nations in Eastern Europe that attained independence after the fall of the USSR in 1991 did not have an “effective” sovereign status, during an interview for the French LCI network.
Ambassador Lu had been asked about China’s view of the status of Crimea which Russia annexed in 2014.
“That depends,” Lu said. “That’s the backstory. Wasn’t Crimea originally Russian? “During the Soviet era, it was Khrushchev who gave Crimea to Ukraine. With regards to international law, even these ex-Soviet Union countries” do not have status that is “effective in international law, because there is no international agreement to solidify their status as a sovereign country.”
Nikita Khrushchev had been the Soviet leader during the 1950s and 1960s.
According to the interviewer, the territory was a part of Ukraine under international law.
Lu said in response that the situation was complex and that nations like Ukraine could not preserve their sovereignty through the application of international law.
“Even these former Soviet countries don’t have an effective status under international law because there is no international agreement under international law to concretize their status as sovereign countries,” he said.
European officials responded angrily, particularly in the Baltic republics of Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania, who tend to be fearful of involvement and even assault from nearby Russia.
European Union Foreign Affairs Chief Josep Borrell said in a statement that the ambassador’s comment was “unacceptable.”
With Lu’s remarks set to be discussed, the 27-nation bloc planned to “assess and recalibrate strategy toward China” at a meeting with foreign ministers on Monday.
“We will have to continue discussions about China. It is one of the most important issues of our foreign policy,” Borrell said in an interview.
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