China to send team to Israel to collect ambassador’s remains

This September 2019 photo shows Du Wei (left) when he was Chinese ambassador to Ukraine. (AP pic)

JERUSALEM: China is sending a team to Israel to repatriate the body of its ambassador who died at his home in Tel Aviv, reportedly from natural causes, an Israeli diplomatic source said Monday.

The Chinese officials were due in Israel “in the coming days” said the source, requesting anonymity.

It was not clear whether they would have to enter mandatory 14-day coronavirus quarantine before being cleared for movement within Israel.

Late ambassador Du Wei was 57 when he was found dead at his home in Herzliya, north of Tel Aviv, on Sunday.

Israel sent forensic experts and police to the scene as part of normal diplomatic procedure, police said.

China’s foreign ministry said Sunday that “health reasons” were the presumed cause of Du’s death but that a definitive finding had not yet been reached.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters Monday that Beijing was “doing its best regarding the funeral arrangements.”