China sends special investigation team to Israel after ambassador’s death

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China is sending a special investigative team to Israel following the sudden death of its ambassador Du Wei, whose body was found at his residence on Sunday.

The team, accompanied by a member of Du’s family, was due to travel on Monday, and will handle arrangements for the remains, as well as conducting its own internal investigation, according to Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

Israel’s foreign ministry said its director general Yuval Rotem had spoken with deputy ambassador Dai Yuming to express his condolences. Local police are continuing to investigate at Du’s residence in a suburb of Herzliya, near Tel Aviv.

Details from the Chinese side have been scant. China’s foreign ministry provided a statement to AFP on Sunday which said the preliminary verdict was that Du, 57, had died unexpectedly for health reasons, and details awaited further confirmation. AFP also reported that Du’s wife and son were not with him in Tel Aviv.

“As far as I know, China’s ambassador to Israel Du Wei passed away in ambassador’s residence in Tel Aviv this morning for physical reasons. It happened abruptly,” said Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of state media tabloid Global Times in a tweet late on Sunday night.

Du was last seen in public on Tuesday in a video conference with an official from Israel’s foreign affairs ministry, according to the embassy website.

James Dorsey, senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore, said Du’s untimely death should be seen as a personal, rather than a political, tragedy for the growing relationship between China and Israel, but he said it came at an important moment for the two countries because of rising US-China tensions.

Dorsey said Israel’s increasing hi-tech cooperation with China, as well as continuing US hostility to Iran ” which has close ties with China ” were potentially problematic for relations between the two countries.

“I’m not sure that the China-Israel relationship can be seen as independent of the Israel-US relationship. One could argue that the Chinese may be well advised to very quickly replace him soon,” Dorsey said. “Israel could find itself on the fault line of deepening US-China decoupling,” he added.

Following a brief trip to Jerusalem on Wednesday ” his first foreign visit since March ” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo renewed warnings about China-Israel ties in an interview with Israeli state-owned media outlet Kan News.

“We do not want the Chinese Communist Party to have access to Israeli infrastructure, Israeli communication systems, all of the things that put Israeli citizens at risk,” he said.

China’s embassy in Tel Aviv blasted Pompeo’s comments as “absurd” and “ill-intentioned”. However, the embassy statement was not written by Du, but by a spokesperson.

Du had only served in Israel since February. Just before his arrival, the Chinese embassy had to issue an apology after then-acting ambassador Dai denounced Israel’s tightened restrictions on Chinese visitors by comparing them to the Holocaust.

During his brief tenure, Du gave frequent interviews to local media, speaking mainly about China’s virus control measures, US-China tensions, and friendship between China and the Jewish people.

Du had worked as a career diplomat since entering China’s foreign service in 1989. Before his appointment in Tel Aviv, he served as China’s ambassador to Ukraine from 2016-2019.

This article originally appeared on the South China Morning Post (www.scmp.com), the leading news media reporting on China and Asia.

Author: Gilbert Tan TS

IT expert with more than 20 years experience in Multiple OS, Security, Data & Internet , Interests include AI and Big Data, Internet and multimedia. An experienced Real Estate agent, Insurance agent, and a Futures trader. I am capable of finding any answers in the world you want as long as there are reports available online for me to do my own research to bring you closest to all the unsolved mysteries in this world, because I can find all the paths to the Truth, and what the Future holds. All I need is to observe, test and probe to research on anything I want, what you need to do will take months to achieve, all I need is a few hours.​

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