Members of the European Parliament take part in a voting session during a plenary session in Strasbourg, eastern France, on March 14, 2023InternationalIndiaAfricaOleg BurunovMembers of the European Parliament have accused the Chinese diplomat of violating international law and threatening the security of France’s European partners.About 80 members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have urged French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna to declare Chinese Ambassador to France Lu Shaye a persona non grata over his remarks about the status of former Soviet republics.
In a letter to Colonna published by a French newspaper on Monday, the MEPs noted that the Chinese diplomat “publicly stated that the former republics of the Soviet Union do not have effective status within the framework of international law.”
According to the MEPs, Lu specifically argued that there is “no international agreement to materialize” the status of the ex-Soviet republics, remarks that they said “insulted the history, culture and integrity of the countries.”The MEPs also argued that Lu’s “aggressive comments […] clearly violate international law and must be seen as a threat against the security of France’s European partners.”“Such comments go well beyond the boundaries of acceptable diplomatic discourse. This is wolf warrior activity at its worst and should not go unanswered. […] We call upon you to declare Ambassador Lu Shaye persona non grata immediately as a response to his completely unacceptable behavior,” the letter read.The document comes after Lu commented on the status of Crimea in an interview with a French news network last week.The Chinese ambassador claimed that “even these ex-Soviet Union countries do not have effective status, as we say, under international law because there is no international accord to concretize their status as a sovereign country.”
On Crimea, Lu recalled that the peninsula was initially part of Russia and that it was Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev who decided to transfer it to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1954. Crimea reunited with Russia in March 2014 after a referendum in which over 96% of the peninsula's voters said “yes” to reunification.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry reacted by stating that Beijing “respects the sovereignty of all republics that were previously part of the Soviet Union.” A US news agency has, meanwhile, reported that making remarks on Crimea and the status of former Soviet republics, Lu had poured cold water on French President Emmanuel Macron’s reported plans to prompt Beijing to cooperate with Kiev.
“Lu’s Friday remarks undercut Macron’s push to use talks between his foreign policy adviser Emmanuel Bonne and China’s top diplomat Wang Yi to establish a framework that could be used as a basis for future negotiations between Ukraine and Russia,” the media outlet pointed out.
AnalysisMacron’s Push for Ukraine and Taiwan Peace: Genuine Attempt to Escape US Vassalage or PR Stunt?20 April, 18:46 GMTThis followed the French president saying that he sees a major role for China and that thanks to its relationship with Russia it could “bring Moscow back to reason”, an apparent reference to possible peace talks between Russia and Ukraine. While Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky issued a decree to ban Kiev from sitting down with Moscow, the Kremlin has repeatedly signaled readiness for the talks.