The Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Israel, Du Wei, was found today with no signs of life in his home in Herzliya. Police arrived at the scene and began an investigation.
The 58-year-old Chinese diplomat took up the post of ambassador to Israel quite recently – already during the coronavirus pandemic. He arrived in February, immediately quarantined and, due to the pandemic, did not present his credentials to President Rivlin. However, in March, he handed them to the Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Before Israel, the diplomat was an ambassador to Ukraine.
Du Wei began his service in Tel Aviv amid a sharp deterioration in relations between the US and China, which increased Washington’s discontent with the deepening Israeli-Chinese economic ties. The Trump administration sharply objects to the participation of Chinese companies in major infrastructure projects: first it was a seaport in Haifa, and now China’s participation in the competition for the construction of a large desalination plant near Palmahim.
Last week, Israeli cooperation with China was raised during Mike Pompeo’s visit to Jerusalem. The Secretary of State warned Netanyahu against being overly enthusiastic about Chinese infrastructure investments.
Ambassador Du Wei said after that cooperation with Israel was mutually beneficial. “China’s investments in Israel make up 0.4% of all foreign investments, and for Israel it is 3% of foreign investments,” the embassy said in a statement. “We believe that our Jewish friends will defeat not only the coronavirus, but also the“ political virus ”and choose the path that serves their interests.”
A diplomatic incident occurred between the two countries and at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. When Israel closed the entrance for the Chinese after the outbreak in Wuhan, the Chinese Embassy recalled that during World War II, China had wide open the doors for Jewish refugees from Europe and asked Israel to deal with the Chinese as well. The Israeli Foreign Ministry expressed outrage at comparing the pandemic with the Holocaust of European Jewry. The embassy apologized.