Beijing: After China's ambassador to France Lu Shaye questioned the status of ex-Soviet states, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said that the country respects the status of the member republics as sovereign states after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, according to The Global Times.

While responding to a media query during the press conference, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mao Ning reported that China's position on the relevant issues has not changed.

Regarding territory and sovereignty issues, China's stance is consistent and clear: respecting the sovereign independence and territorial integrity of all countries, and upholding the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, she said at a press conference on Monday.

China was one of the earliest countries to establish diplomatic relations with the relevant countries after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Since establishing diplomatic ties, China has always adhered to the principles of mutual respect and equality and developed bilateral friendly cooperation relations. China respects the status of the member republics as sovereign states after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, The Global Times quoted Mao saying.

Earlier, China's ambassador to France Lu Shaye said that former Soviet states do not actually have the status of independent nations, The Sunday Morning Herald reported.

The remarks were made by the Chinese envoy while speaking to France's free-to-air television La Chaine Info when he was questioned about the status of Russia's annexed region, Crimea.

Lu remarked that it depends because Crimea was "first Russian" before raising more general concerns about the position of post-Soviet republics.

"These ex-USSR countries don't have actual status in international law because there is no international agreement to materialise their sovereign status," the Chinese ambassador said, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.

This remark sparked outrage in Europe by questioning the sovereignty of those nations.

European Union (EU)'s Foreign Affairs representative Josep Borrell Fontelles asked China for clarification.

Taking to Twitter, 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, his tweet read further.

The ambassador's remarks come after French President Emmanuel Macron's three-day state visit to Beijing, during which he called for Europe to achieve "strategic autonomy" from the United States and said the continent should stay out of any disputes between the two superpowers over Taiwan, which China has threatened to annex militarily, reported The Sydney Morning Herald on Sunday.