Beijing-Germany’s ambassador to China, former foreign policy adviser Angela Merkel, died suddenly less than two weeks after taking office.
The Beijing embassy told Reuters on social media that 54-year-old Hecker presented his credentials at China’s Foreign Ministry on August 24. The cause of death has not yet been confirmed.
In a comment posted by a spokesman on Twitter, Merkel said, “I mourn the loss of a long-standing adviser who is highly regarded for his deep humanity and outstanding expertise.”
In the Chinese capital, Foreign Ministry spokesman Mio Wentan also offered condolences when asked about his death.
“I was shocked to learn about the sudden death of Ambassador Hecker, who has been actively working to promote relations between China and Germany since taking office,” he told a regular media briefing.
He added that China would provide assistance to Hecker’s family and embassies.
Hecker looked “happy and okay” when he hosted an event about German artist Joseph Beuys at his Beijing home last Friday, guest of the event said.
The flags of Germany and the European Union flew at the embassy in Beijing on Monday’s half-mast.
According to the embassy, Hecker arrived in China on August 1 and had to spend time quarantining as well as all arrivals as a precautionary measure against the coronavirus.
Yew Lun Tian, Andreas Rinke, Paul Carrel