Germany’s ambassador to China, Jan Hecker, died suddenly, less than two weeks after taking office, the European nation’s foreign ministry said Monday.
Hecker, 54, foreign policy adviser to Chancellor Angela Merkel, had presented his credentials at the Chinese foreign ministry on Aug. 24, the embassy in the Chinese capital told Reuters via social media.
The cause of death had yet to be confirmed.
“It is with deep sadness and dismay that we have learned of the sudden death of the German ambassador to China,” the German Foreign Ministry said on its website.
An embassy spokesman declined to comment further to Reuters.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin expressed his condolences when asked about Hecker’s death during a regular media briefing.
“We are shocked by the sudden death of Ambassador Hecker, who has been actively promoting relations between China and Germany since taking office,” he said.
China would help Hecker’s family and the embassy, he added.
Hecker seemed “happy and fine” when he hosted an event about German artist Joseph Beuys at his Beijing home last Friday, a guest at the event said.
The flags of Germany and the European Union were flown at half mast at the embassy in Beijing on Monday.
Hecker had arrived in China on Aug. 1, the embassy said, and like all arrivals, he would have had to spend time in quarantine.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NewsMadura staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.)