DESPARDES — China’s ambassador to Israel was found dead in his home in a Tel Aviv suburb on Sunday morning, an Israeli police spokesman said.
He did not comment on the cause of the death of ambassador Du Wei, who was 57 years old and became ambassador to Israel in February, according to the embassy’s website.
“As part of the regular procedure, police units are at the scene,” the spokesman said.
Israel’s Channel 12 TV, quoting unidentified emergency medical officials, said initial indications were that Du died in his sleep of natural causes.
An embassy worker found the body of Du in his bed in a coastal suburb north of Tel Aviv. The Chinese government in preliminary findings attributed his death to unspecified health problems, The New York Times reported.
Du Wei took up his post in Israel on Feb. 15, in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, and went into quarantine for two weeks.
Mr. Du’s wife and son were not in Israel at the time, according to Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
NY TIMES ADDS: Du’s stint in Israel put him in the middle of an increasingly tense dynamic that is creating friction between Israel and the United States. China has been investing heavily in Israel in recent years, taking stakes in hundreds of technological start-ups and acquiring a controlling interest in the dairy food-processing company Tnuva.
But Israel has antagonized Washington by allowing Chinese companies to make major infrastructure investments in recent years, including in sensitive locations. A company majority-owned by the Chinese government has signed a 25-year lease to run Israel’s commercial seaport in Haifa, a frequent port of call for the United States Navy, beginning in 2021.
And near Israel’s Palmachim air force base, a Hong Kong-based company, Hutchison Water International, is a finalist to build a desalination plant that Israel says will be the largest in the world.