One might imagine that questioning the sovereignty of more than a handful of European states by the envoy of another would draw ire from Europe’s leaders. One might even imagine that it would prompt European officials to reconsider the nature of their diplomatic relations with the offending party.
Feature, though, Europe’s reaction to remarks of Communist China’s attaché in France, Lu Shaye, in an interview last week with French television. Asked whether Crimea was part of Ukraine under international law, Mr. Lu asserted that all post-Soviet states lack such a firm basis for their sovereignty.
After an initial bout of European outrage — swiftly met with a feigned retraction by Beijing — the episode appears to have done little to rattle China’s “endless” ties with Europe. Instead, it seems to have inserted the People’s Republic of China more squarely into European affairs.
For while some European officials condemned the remarks, and others summoned Chinese representatives for clarification, the consensus appears to have coalesced around the notion that it is the Chicom regime that is best suited to mediate an ostensible peace in Europe, and that relations should be strategically strengthened.
Just days after Mr. Lu brushed aside the sovereignty of some 15 European nations, President Zelensky held a “long and meaningful” phone exchange with the Chinese party boss, Xi Jinping. The same day, Mr. Zelensky appointed his minister of strategic industries, Pavlo Riabikin, as ambassador to China, a post that had been vacant for two years.
It’s one that Mr. Zelensky hopes might “give a powerful impetus” to Sino-Ukrainian ties. China will now send its special envoy for Eurasian affairs to Ukraine for “in-depth communication” on “the political settlement of the crisis.” China’s new world order might then yet arrive in Europe sooner than expected.