Chinese diplomat angered Europe by saying that the countries of the former Soviet Union did not exist

European countries are demanding answers from Beijing after their top diplomat in Paris questioned the sovereignty of former Soviet republics, in comments that could undermine efforts China’s ability to be seen as a potential mediator between Russia and the EU and Ukraine.

The remarks by Chinese Ambassador to France Lu Shaye, who said in a television interview that the former Soviet Union countries do not have “effective status under international law”, were shocking. diplomacy, especially in the Baltic states. Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis confirmed on Monday that Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia will summon Chinese representatives to ask for clarification. Officials including from Ukraine, Moldova, France and the European Union have all responded with their own criticisms of Lu’s comments. Lu made this comment in response to a question about whether Crimea, illegally annexed by Russia in 2014, is part of Ukraine.

“Even these former Soviet states do not have an effective status in international law because there is no international agreement to concretize their status as sovereign states,” Lu said. after first noting that the Crimea issue “depends on how the matter is viewed” because the region was “originally Russian” and then “given to Ukraine in Soviet times”. Russian President Vladimir Putin meets Chinese leader Xi Jinping at the Kremlin in Moscow on March 21, 2023. There is no path to peace: Five key takeaways from Xi and Putin’s talks in Moscow

The remarks seem to deny the sovereignty of countries that became independent states and members of the United Nations after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and come against the backdrop of Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine under the vision of leader Vladimir Putin, this country should be a part. of Russia. So far, China has refused to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine or call for a troop withdrawal, instead calling for restraint from “all sides” and accusing NATO of sparking the conflict. It also continues to strengthen diplomatic and economic ties with Moscow.

When asked about Lu’s remarks during Monday’s regular press conference, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said China respects the “sovereign state status” of the countries of the former Soviet Union. “After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, China was one of the first countries to establish diplomatic relations with relevant countries… China has always adhered to the principles of mutual demand and equality in developing relations. bilateral friendship and cooperation,” the spokesman said. Mao Ning said. said, without directly addressing questions about Lu’s views. “We expect China to explain its position clearly.” Meanwhile, EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell said China would be discussed at a meeting of foreign ministers on Monday. “We have talked a lot about China (in) the past few days, but we will have to continue to discuss China because it is one of the most important issues for our foreign policy, said Borrell.

EU foreign ministers will also discuss the situation in Moldova and Georgia, as these countries “see the war (in Ukraine) very closely, they feel the threat”, he added. Moldova is a small country on the southwestern border of Ukraine that has been caught up in the Russian invasion. Georgia, which shares a border with Russia to the east, is also in the spotlight after protests broke out against a controversial bill on foreign agents similar to the one passed. in the Kremlin to suppress dissent. “For us, Georgia is a very important country and remember they have specific security issues because their territory is partially occupied by Russia,” Borrell said. On Sunday, he tweeted that the Chinese ambassador’s remarks were “unacceptable” and that “the EU can only assume that these statements do not represent official Chinese policy.”

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