China’s foreign ministry reaffirms respect for the sovereignty of former Soviet states after EU criticism.
China’s foreign ministry declared on Monday that it respects the status of former Soviet member states as sovereign nations, following controversial comments made by Chinese ambassador to Paris, Lu Shaye, that sparked outrage among European capitals.
Several EU foreign ministers had earlier deemed Ambassador Lu’s remarks, which seemed to question the sovereignty of Ukraine and other ex-Soviet states, as unacceptable and demanded that Beijing clarify its stance. In a French TV interview, Lu said that historically, Crimea was part of Russia and had been gifted to Ukraine by former Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev. He further stated that these ex-USSR countries lack actual status in international law due to the absence of an international agreement to materialize their sovereign status.
Known for his “wolf warrior” diplomacy (Wolf warrior diplomacy is an aggressive and assertive style of diplomacy employed by some Chinese diplomats, characterized by confrontational rhetoric and staunch defense of China’s interests. The term “wolf warrior” comes from a popular 2015 Chinese action movie called “Wolf Warrior,” which features a heroic Chinese soldier who fiercely defends his country against foreign adversaries), Lu’s comments were met with strong disapproval from various EU ministers, including Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky and Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis. Luxembourg’s Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn described the ambassador’s remarks as a “blunder” and said efforts were underway to defuse the situation.
In response to questions about whether Lu’s stance reflected China’s official position, foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning emphasized that Beijing respected the sovereignty of former Soviet member states following the Soviet Union’s collapse. Mao’s statement aimed to distance Beijing from Lu’s comments and alleviate tensions with Brussels.
China has maintained an “objective and impartial” stance on issues of sovereignty, according to Mao. In a separate instance, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told senior European officials that China respects countries’ sovereignty, including Ukraine’s, but also acknowledged Russia’s concerns about NATO’s eastward expansion.
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell indicated that the 27-nation bloc would “assess and recalibrate strategy towards China” at a meeting on Monday, where Lu’s comments would be part of the discussion. EU leaders were also expected to address the bloc’s stance towards China and its future relations with Beijing during their next summit in June, according to EU Council President Charles Michel.
Topics: China, sovereignty, former Soviet states, European Union, Ambassador Lu Shaye, foreign ministry