China's ambassador to Israel Du Wei found dead at home

Police have launched an investigation into his death

Du Wei, then Chinese Ambassador to Ukraine, at the Chinese embassy in Kiev, Ukraine, 30 August, 2019. EPA
Du Wei, then Chinese Ambassador to Ukraine, at the Chinese embassy in Kiev, Ukraine, 30 August, 2019. EPA

Chinese ambassador to Israel Du Wei was found dead in his apartment in Tel Aviv on Sunday, according to Israeli media reports. Police have launched an investigation into his death.

Mr Wei, 58, was found dead in his bed and appears to have died in his sleep, left-wing newspaper Haaretz said.

Israeli Police Spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the ambassador’s death was believed to be from natural causes.

Mr Wei was appointed envoy in February in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. He previously served as China’s envoy to Ukraine. He was found dead at the ambassador’s official residence in Herzliya.

China’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying posted a tweet expressing "deepest condolences" at her colleague’s death. The tweet provided no information about the death.

He is survived by a wife and son, both of whom were not in Israel.

Israel enjoys good relations with China. Bilateral trade has grown in recent years, as have American concerns over Chinese investment, and concerns over spying on one of its key regional allies.

The ambassador's death comes just two days after he condemned comments by visiting US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who denounced Chinese investments in Israel and accused China of hiding information about the coronavirus outbreak.

Mr Pompeo told Hebrew-language daily Israel Hayom that the US and Israel have an opportunity to “build upon our relationship rather than give the Chinese Community Party the opportunity to undermine it.”

The Chinese Embassy published an op-ed in the Jerusalem Post on Thursday rebuffing Mr Pompeo’s claims that China was responsible for the outbreak and American concerns about Chinese investment in Israel.

“We trust that the Jewish friends are not only able to defeat the coronavirus but also the ‘political virus,’ and choose the course of action that best serves its interests,” the embassy said.

Updated: May 18, 2020 08:28 AM

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