Estonian FM: Chinese diplomat's comments are false, misinterpret history

Estonian Minister of Foreign Affairs Margus Tsahkna (Eesti 200).
Estonian Minister of Foreign Affairs Margus Tsahkna (Eesti 200). Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Foreign ministers from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania on Saturday hit back at comments made by China's ambassador to France who said former Soviet republics have no "effective status" in international law.

In an interview on Friday with French network LCI, Lu Shaye, China's ambassador to France, said former Soviet republics have no "effective status" in international law while discussing Ukraine and the status of Crimea.

"In international law, even these ex-Soviet Union countries do not have the status, the effective status in international law, because there is no international agreement to materialize their status of a sovereign country," Lu said, according to the South Morning China Post (SMCP).

There were 15 Soviet republics, including the Baltics, Ukraine, Belarus, and Georgia.

Estonia's Minister of Foreign Affairs Margus Tsahkna (Eesti 200) wrote on social media: "The comments by the Chinese representative on independent & sovereign states are false & a misinterpretation of history.

"[The] Baltic states under international law have been sovereign since 1918 but were occupied for 50 years."

Tsahkna told news portal Delfi the Chinese ambassador to Estonia will be summoned to give an explanation. "Our goal is to make it clear that such views are unacceptable and that Estonia is a sovereign state," he said.

Chairman of the Riigikogu's Foreign Affairs Committee Marko Mihkelson said China should remember its history.

"Chinese ambassador in Paris should know that in 1967, however, the PR [People's Repubic] of China declared that it did not recognize the annexation of the Baltic states. Beijing has repeatedly reminded this even after the collapse of the Soviet Union," he wrote.

Latvian Minister of Foreign Affairs Edgars Rinkevics called the comments "completely unacceptable".

"We expect an explanation from the Chinese side and complete retraction of this statement," he wrote on social media.

"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," wrote Lithuanian foreign minister Gabrielius Landsbergis, referring to the peace plan China proposed earlier this year.

The Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said each country will summon their respective Chinese ambassador for an explanation.

Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania were occupied for almost 50 years, between 1940-1941 and 1944-1991, by the Soviet Union.

Watch the video below, made by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, for a brief overview of Estonia's history.


Follow ERR News on Facebook and Twitter and never miss an update!

Editor: Helen Wright

Hea lugeja, näeme et kasutate vanemat brauseri versiooni või vähelevinud brauserit.

Parema ja terviklikuma kasutajakogemuse tagamiseks soovitame alla laadida uusim versioon mõnest meie toetatud brauserist: