China's ambassador in Paris angers former Soviet Republics

China's ambassador to France, Lu Shaye, has sparked outrage in countries of the former Soviet Union after saying in a TV interview that they have no "effective status" in international law. There is "no international accord to concretise their status as a sovereign country," he said. Commentators discuss whether this reflects the opinion of other members of the Beijing establishment.

Open/close all quotes (UA) /

So that's what the Chinese establishment thinks

At least the incident also had a positive side, the former Ukrainian deputy foreign minister Danylo Lubkiwskyj writes on

“Firstly, the international reaction forced Beijing to deny the absurd and confusing, but nonetheless damaging, words of its representative in Paris. Secondly, the candour of the Chinese ambassador revealed to a wider audience the true attitude of the establishment to which he belongs. Our diplomats should have pointed out to our colleagues in the 'Global South' that this is by no means a neutral position or moral superiority, but clear political bias and partisanship.” (UA) /

Not Beijing's position

Lu has left himself isolated with his remarks, observes former KGB agent Juri Schwez on

“Even Chinese newspapers were outraged by Lu Shaye's remarks. How could he say such a thing at such an inopportune moment! He is now being reminded that China recognised Ukraine's independence in 1991 and its borders in 1994 when it signed the Budapest Memorandum. China, as a nuclear power, officially gave its approval back then.”

Politika (RS) /

Partnership with Moscow more important for China

China clearly sees no reason to side with Ukraine, writes Politika:

“China, along with the US, is one of the winners in this war and, like the US, has no reason to end it, although it is probably the only country that could bring the Kremlin to heel. However, it is unrealistic to expect this. ... The Chinese peace plan was launched to start a dialogue about the future world order. Ukraine was the occasion, but not a reason for Beijing to alienate Moscow. ... Kyiv is on the wrong side of Xi's ambitions. ... It doesn't fit into the Sino-Russian strategy of cooperation for establishing a 'new era' in a multi-polar world. We should neither expect to see peace talks this year, nor a trip by Xi to Kyiv.”

Le Monde (FR) /

Sovreingnty is not a diplomatic toy

In Le Monde almost 80 European parliamentarians call upon the French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna to declare the ambassador a persona non grata:

“It is no business of China's - nor of any other nation for that matter - to cast doubt on the sovereignty of another state. Sovereignty is not a diplomatic toy but the fundamental element of international relations, of international law and the UN Charter. At a time when war is raging in Europe, it is imperative that the democratic world sends an unequivocal message to such authoritarian states to defend the sovereignty of our allies. ... We therefore call upon you to declare Ambassador Lu Shaye persona not grata, in reaction to his utterly unacceptable behaviour.”

Echo (RU) /

Beijing must focus on damage limitation

In a Telegram post republished by Echo, foreign policy expert Arkady Dubnov says the comments have caused unnecessary damage:

“The Chinese ambassador's unguarded frankness has made the prospect of a joint Xi-Macron peace plan for Ukraine even more remote. Kyiv will again suspect China of playing a double game - not so much in favour of peace for Ukraine, but rather to divide Europe by making Paris its agent of influence. It will now be interesting to see how Beijing tries to deny the damage its ambassador has done to President Xi's carefully balanced policy.”