China has reportedly said that it acknowledges the sovereign status of former Soviet countries, distancing itself from comments made by some members who were on their way to Paris that ignited backlash from European capitals, per Reuters.
A number of European Union foreign ministers were disturbed by the comments made by China’s ambassador to France, Lu Shaye, who questioned the independence and sovereignty of Ukraine and other former Soviet territories. "Even these former Soviet countries don't have an effective status under international law because there is no international agreement under international law to concretize their status as sovereign countries," he said.
When it was made known that the comments were unacceptable, the foreign ministers asked Beijing to clarify its stance on the issue.
China’s foreign ministry spokesperson, Mao Ning, appeared to contradict Lu’s statements, suggesting that Beijing does, in fact, respect the sovereignty of those territories that previously belonged to the Soviet Union. Mao reiterated that her remarks on the issue represented the official stance that Beijing holds with respect to these nations, per the report.
She said: "China respects the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of all countries and upholds the purposes and principles of the UN Charter,” adding that “after the collapse of the Soviet Union, China was one of the first countries to establish diplomatic relations with relevant countries."
France 24 reported that French President Emmanuel Macron took exception to Lu’s comments, saying that “it’s not the place of a diplomat to use that kind of language,” adding that he offered “full solidarity to the countries that have been attacked in their reading of their history and their borders.”
However, Beijing has expressed its friendliness with Moscow amid the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. Both countries have suggested that they are interested in moving away from Western hegemony, but it is still uncertain how committed Beijing is in supporting Moscow’s efforts in Ukraine.Russian President Vladimir Putin recently visited the southern part of Ukraine to hear the status of the effort from military commanders, saying that it “is important for me to hear your opinion on how the situation is developing, to listen to you, to exchange information.”