China’s ambassador to Israel has been found dead at his residence in Tel Aviv.
No indications of foul play are being reported in the death of Du Wei, 57, an Israeli official told the BBC.
Du became China’s ambassador to Israel in February. Before that, he was China’s envoy to Ukraine.
An Israeli police spokesman told Reuters that police were at Du’s residence “as part of the regular procedure.”
Although Du has a wife and son, they had not yet moved to Israel.
Du was found deceased by staff at his residence on Sunday, according to Haaretz.
First responders said his death appeared to be due to a cardiac event.
China is sending its own team of investigators on Monday, sources told Haaretz. The special unit will also accompany the diplomat’s body home.
Chinese Ambassador to Israel Du Wei confirmed dead from a health condition in Tel Aviv on May 17 (file photo) pic.twitter.com/CSQyEV7Hta
— CGTN (@CGTNOfficial) May 17, 2020
Ambassador Du was a distinguished career diplomat and during his short time in Israel had already contributed to the bilateral relations between the countries.
— ישראל כ”ץ Israel Katz (@Israel_katz) May 17, 2020
In a recent interview with an Israeli newspaper, Du said China’s actions in connection with the coronavirus were being wrongly portrayed.
“In history, more than once, a certain group of people was accused of spreading pandemics,” he said, according to the BBC.
“That is despicable and should be condemned. The disease is an enemy of the entire humankind and the world should fight it together.”
During the interview, he called for a positive view of China.
“I assumed my post in an extraordinary time when China was fighting against the COVID-19,” Du said.
“Immediately after my arrival on Feb. 15, I went into the 14-day home quarantine. During which, I had not taken a single step out of my residence nor had any direct contact with my embassy colleagues. I just want to send a message to all Israeli friends that China is a responsible, rule-abiding and trustworthy country.”
“There are different voices regarding China’s fight. In the beginning, some voices were condescending and schadenfreude. Later, when the disease broke out around the world, the voices became ‘China should apologize.’ It is scapegoating,” Du said.
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