China is sending a special investigation unit to Israel following the mysterious death of its ambassador, Du Wei, who was found dead at his apartment in Herzliya near Tel Aviv on Sunday, May 17.
The unit, which will be accompanied by a member of Du's family, will fly to Tel Aviv on Monday, May 18 to handle the arrangements for his remains to be flown back to China for burial as well as to conduct an internal investigation over his death, according to Israeli newspaper Haaretz.
The team would not be required to enter the 14-day quarantine period, as is mandatory for arrivals in Israel due to the coronavirus pandemic.
According to the report, Israel's Foreign Ministry Director-General Yuval Rotem said that he spoke with China's deputy ambassador Dai Yuming to express his condolences, and also told him that the ministry would provide any assistance it could to the Chinese Embassy.
Does China Suspect Foul Play?
As previously reported by International Business Times, Du, 58, who was appointed as China's envoy to Israel in February, was found dead in his bed on Sunday and appeared to have passed away in his sleep from natural causes.
Initial reports claimed that Du was discovered by staff members at his residence and that no signs of violence were found on his body. Israel's emergency medical service, Magen David Adom, also said the cause of death appears to be a "cardiac incident."
China's foreign ministry also said that "the preliminary verdict is that Ambassador Du Wei died unexpectedly of health reasons." However, Israeli reports claimed Du had recently undergone a thorough medical check-up and no heart issues were diagnosed at the time.
Chinese government sources told media outlets in the country that Du "apparently died of natural causes but it is necessary to examine all the details," as reported by Haaretz.
Ambassador's Death Linked to Pompeo's Visit
The ambassador's death came just two days after he criticized comments by visiting US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as "absurd" and "ill-intentioned." Pompeo had denounced Chinese investments in Israel and accused China of covering up the coronavirus outbreak.
The fact that Du's death comes just days after Pompeo's visit to Jerusalem has led to speculation that it is anything but a mere co-incidence and he may have been murdered, which is why China is sending investigators to look into his unexpected demise.
"Last week Pompeo flew to Israel in an attempt to pursue the Israelis not to trade or invest with China. Pompeo wanted the Israelis to limit their consumption of Chinese goods," wrote one user on Twitter. "Today the Chinese ambassador to Israel Du Wei was found dead in his home in Tel Aviv."
"An investigation is underway after Chinese Ambassador to Israel, Du Wei, died. [Chinese Communist Party] CCP assumes he was murdered," commented another user. "Why is CCP investigating deaths in other countries?"
"US knows that it's alarming for US if China gets closer to Israel," said a third user. "Because Israel has deep knowledge & intel about US tech that no other country does. It's likely that Israel may share those infos/intel with China. So ambassador Du Wei may be murdered as a warning to limit relations."