China's French Ambassador Doesn't Think Old Soviet States Have a Claim to Sovereignty

(AP Photo, File)

A new world order, indeed.

Ambassador Lu Shaye, China’s representative to the French government, caused an international uproar when he was asked during a French TV interview on Friday whether Crimea, illegally annexed by Russia in 2014, was 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.

Neither does China, but who’s counting?

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There may not have been a formal international accord but one might ask how did the “Soviet Union” — the official name of the Communist state from 1917 to 1989 — become “Russia” again?

Wall Street Journal:

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 took a dim view of Mr. Lu’s remarks, saying in a statement that it was necessary for 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 spokesperson said. “The annexation of Crimea by Russia in 2014 is illegal under international law.”

Indeed, the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania are hopping mad — and well they should be. They became part of the old Soviet Union after a corrupt, cynical deal between Hitler and Stalin. Germany was expected to defend the Baltic States from Russia in the case of Soviet aggression, but Hitler needed Stalin to sit out his invasion of Poland so he gave the Soviet dictator a free hand in the Baltic.

Prior to that, the Baltic states were sovereign nations, members of the League of Nations — as were most of the old Soviet Warsaw Pact countries.

Washington Post:

Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis tweeted that “If anyone is still wondering why the Baltic States don’t trust China to ‘broker peace in Ukraine,’ here’s a Chinese ambassador arguing that Crimea is Russian and our countries’ borders have no legal basis.”

His Estonian counterpart, Margus Tsahkna, said Chinese ambassador’s comments were “false and a misinterpretation of history,” while Latvian Foreign Minister Edgar Rinkevics said that the statements were “completely unacceptable.”


Unless Lu was under orders to stir the pot, this was undoubtedly the most egregious diplomatic gaffe in quite a while. Ambassador Lu was trying to erase most of Eastern Europe from the maps of the world — something Russian President Vladimir Putin could accomplish only in his wildest dreams.


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