Political storm brewing as Baltic states summon Chinese representatives over remarks made by China’s ambassador in Paris

China has distanced itself from ambassador's remarks on Ukrainian sovereignty

Image of Chinese ambassador to France, Lu Shaye. Credit: Wikipedia - Par Thinkerview, CC BY 3.0

Remarks made by Lu Shae, China’s ambassador in Paris, have led to Baltic states summoning Chinese representatives to provide clarification.

Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia have all made a coordinated decision to call Chinese diplomatic representatives in their respective countries to provide clarifications in connection with statements made by the Chinese Ambassador to France, Lu Shae. This was reported today, Sunday, April 23, by the Lithuanian news outlet BNS.

“Such a coordinated decision to call representatives of China on Monday has been made”, Lithuanian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Paulina Levickite was quoted as saying.

Last Friday 21, the French channel LCI posted a quote on Twitter from an interview with Lu Shae. Commenting on the status of Crimea, he suggested that: “even the countries of the former USSR do not have an actual status under international law, because there is no international treaty that would specify their status as sovereign states”.

These comments of his concern not only Ukraine – which Russia invaded in February last year – but also all the countries that belonged to the Soviet Union at the time. They all became independent states after the collapse of the USSR, including many who are now members of the European Union.

When asked if he thought Crimea belonged to Ukraine, Lu Shaye said that: “it depends on how you perceive the issue”, adding that: “it’s not that simple. There is a story. Initially, Crimea was Russian”, he asserted.

Lu Shae’s comments led the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs to state that it was stunned by the statements of the Chinese ambassador to France that the countries of the former Soviet Union do not have an effective status in international law.

It issued a statement yesterday, Saturday 22, in which the department said: “It is for China to say for itself whether these statements reflect its position, and we hope that they do not”.

Tweeting on Saturday, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis wrote: “If anyone is still wondering why the Baltic countries do not trust China to ‘mediate peace in Ukraine’, here is the Chinese ambassador proving that Crimea is Russian and our countries’ borders have no legal basis”.

His colleague from Latvia, Edgaras Rinkevičius, emphasised that: “the remarks of the Chinese ambassador to France regarding international law and the sovereignty of countries are completely unacceptable. We look forward to an explanation from the Chinese side and a complete retraction of this statement”.

Margus Tsahkna, the head of Estonian diplomacy, also condemned the mentioned comments of the Chinese diplomat. “The statements of the Chinese diplomat are incomprehensible and we condemn such comments towards an independent and sovereign country”.

He added: “Estonia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs plans to summon the representative of the People’s Republic of China in Estonia and, if necessary, we will inform him about our history. Our goal is to clearly show that such views are unacceptable and that Estonia is a sovereign country”.

Thank you for taking the time to read this article. Do remember to come back and check The Euro Weekly News website for all your up-to-date local and international news stories and remember, you can also follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at editorial@euroweeklynews.com