Jerusalem, May 17 (efe-epa).- The Chinese ambassador to Israel was found dead on Sunday at his residence near Tel Aviv, Israeli sources told Efe.
The cause of Du Wei’s death were unknown when the Israeli Police went to his apartment in Herzliya, a suburb north of Tel Aviv.
Du, 58, was appointed Israel’s ambassador in February.
His last position before arriving in the country had been as Chinese envoy to Ukraine, where he served between 2016 and 2019.
The ambassador was married and had a son but his family are thought not to be in the country.
On Friday, the Chinese Embassy in Israel issued a statement in response to comments made by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during his visit to Israel on Wednesday.
Pompeo accused China of concealing information about the coronavirus outbreak which the Chinese Embassy branded as “absurd.”
“Scientists still haven’t identified the origin of COVID-19,” the statement from the Chinese Embassy said.
It added that China never concealed the outbreak of the disease and said the US was the pandemic’s hotspot now.
“Jewish friends know (…) the pandemic is accompanied by conspiracies and the dark mentality of seeking scapegoats,” the statement continued.
During his visit Pompeo said that Chinese investments could pose a security risk for Israel given the country’s bad track record in transparency, warning the relationship could affect US-Israeli ties.
China has gained influence in Israel in recent years with Beijing the country’s second most important trading partner in 2018.
“China’s investment in Israel only accounts for 0.4 percent of China’s investment across the world and 3 percent of the foreign investment flown into Israel,” the Chinese Embassy said of the US’ comments about China’s intentions to “buy up” the country.
Economic ties between the two have accelerated in the decade since diplomatic relations were established in 1992. EFE-EPA