Washington: Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have expressed dismay after China's top diplomat in Paris questioned the sovereignty of former Soviet countries.

The three nations will summon Chinese representatives to ask for clarification after China's ambassador to France Lu Shaye raised questions over the sovereignty of former Soviet republics, CNN reported citing Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis.

During a television interview, China's ambassador to France Lu Shaye said former Soviet countries don't have "effective status in international law." His remarks have caused diplomatic consternation, particularly in the Baltic states, CNN reported.

In a television interview, Lu said, "Even these ex-Soviet countries don't have an effective status in international law because there was no international agreement to materialize their status as sovereign countries."

Lu Shaye said that the question on Crimea "depends on how the problem is perceived" as the region was "at the beginning Russian" and then "offered to Ukraine during the Soviet era," according to CNN.

Ukraine, France and the European Union have also criticized Lu Shaye over his remarks. Lu made the statement in response to a question about whether Crimea, annexed by Russia in 2014, was part of Ukraine.

Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics called Lu Shaye's remarks "completely unacceptable." He said that Latvia expects the Chinese side to issue an explanation and complete retraction of the remarks.

Taking to his official Twitter handle, Edgars Rinkevics stated, "Remarks by the Chinese Ambassador in France concerning international law and sovereignty of nations are completely unacceptable. We expect explanation from the Chinese side and complete retraction of this statement."

Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said that Baltic states do not trust China to "broker peace in Ukraine." Landsbergis in a tweet said, "If anyone is still wondering why the Baltic States don't trust China to 'broker peace in Ukraine,' here's a Chinese ambassador arguing that Crimea is Russian and our countries' borders have no legal basis."

Estonia's Minister of Foreign Affairs Margus Tsahkna termed the Chinese envoy's remarks "false and misinterpretation of history." He tweeted, "The comments by the Chinese representative on independent & sovereign states are false & a misinterpretation of history. Baltic states under international law have been sovereign since 1918 but were occupied for 50 years."

Earlier on Sunday, European Union (EU)'s Foreign Affairs chief Josep Borrell termed the remarks of Lu Shaye "unacceptable." He stated that the EU can only suppose that these remarks do not showcase China's official policy.

Taking to his official Twitter handle, Borrell wrote, "Unacceptable remarks of the Chinese Ambassador to France questioning the sovereignty of the countries which became independent with the end of the Soviet Union in 1991. The EU can only suppose these declarations do not represent China's official policy."

Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Ukraine's Presidential Administration tweeted, "It is strange to hear an absurd version of the 'history of Crimea' from a representative of a country that is scrupulous about its thousand-year history," according to CNN.

The French Foreign Ministry also reacted to the Chinese Ambassador's remarks and showed dismay.

"Concerning Ukraine specifically, it was internationally recognised within the borders including Crimea in 1991 by the whole international community, including China, at the fall of the USSR as a new member state of the United Nations. The annexation of Crimea by Russia in 2014 is illegal under international law. The charter of the United Nations, based on the principle of sovereignty and territorial integrity, prohibits the acquisition of territories by force," the Sydney Morning Herald quoted the French Foreign Ministry statement.