China distances itself from ambassador's scandalous Crimea remarks
Remarks by the Chinese ambassador to France regarding Crimea and the sovereignty of former Soviet republics do not reflect Beijing’s official position, the embassy’s statement published late on Monday reads.
"Ambassador Lu Shaye's remarks on the Ukraine issue were not a statement of policy, but an expression of personal views in a televised debate," the Chinese embassy in Paris said.
"They should not be subject to over-interpretation. China's position on the issues concerned has not changed."
China maintains a "constant and clear" position on the issue of territorial sovereignty, the statement reads, as it "respects the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of all countries and upholds the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter."
The embassy claims that, following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, China was "one of the first countries" to establish diplomatic relations with the newly independent states, and has always worked to "develop bilateral friendship and cooperation with them according to the principles of mutual respect and equality".
"The Chinese side respects the status of the republics born after the dissolution of the Soviet Union as sovereign countries," the statement read.
Calling its position on Ukraine "constant and clear" as well, the Chinese embassy in France said that Beijing was "ready to continue working with the international community to make its own contribution to the political settlement of the Ukrainian crisis."
Last week, Lu Shaye, China’s ambassador in France, caused an uproar in the Baltic states, saying on French national television that former Soviet states do not have "effective status in international law."
Mr Lu also angered Kyiv by claiming that Crimea was "at the beginning Russian" and then "offered to Ukraine during the Soviet era".
Later, as the scandal unfolded, the Chinese embassy quietly removed the script of Mr Lu’s interview, and China’s foreign ministry distanced itself from the ambassador’s remarks.