China’s ambassador to France says ex-Soviet states lack basis for sovereignty

China’s ambassador to France says ex-Soviet states lack basis for sovereignty

The Wall Street Journal reports:

France and countries across Eastern Europe condemned remarks by China’s ambassador in Paris claiming that post-Soviet states lack a firm basis for their sovereignty under international law.

Ambassador Lu Shaye made the comments during an interview late Friday on French TV, in which he was asked whether he considered the peninsula of Crimea, which was annexed by Russia in 2014, part of Ukraine under international law.

“Even these ex-Soviet Union countries do not have effective status, as we say, under international law because there’s no international accord to concretize their status as a sovereign country,” Mr. Lu said.

Mr. Lu’s comments appeared to brush aside the sovereignty of countries, including Russia, that formally recognized each other after the Soviet Union’s dissolution and are represented at the United Nations and in European security organizations. The ambassador’s comments drew a swift reaction in parts of Europe, with the three Baltic states saying they would summon China’s top officials in a coordinated move on Monday for an explanation.

France’s Foreign Ministry said that it took note “with consternation” of Mr. Lu’s remarks and that it was incumbent on Beijing “to say if these comments reflect its position, which we hope not to be the case.”

“We stress our full solidarity with all of our allies and partners concerned, who have gained their long-awaited independence after decades of oppression,” a French foreign ministry spokeperson said. “The annexation of Crimea by Russia in 2014 is illegal under international law.”

Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics said the Chinese ambassador’s comment were “completely unacceptable.” [Continue reading…]

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