A guest on the network falsely claimed that Chinese diplomats were standing at the reception for Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine.

CNN apologized to China’s Global Times newspaper on Thursday for a broadcast Wednesday where U.S. envoy Michael McCall accused a Chinese delegation of sitting during a permanent reception for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at a meeting of the World Economic Forum. According to Chinese reports, the seated delegation was Vietnamese.

McCall, a Texas Republican, told CNN on Wednesday that he was sitting in front of one “Chinese delegation” During Zelensky’s speech at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on Monday. McCall said that when the leaders present applauded for standing up for the President of Ukraine, the delegation sat in silence before leaving the auditorium.

CNN showed video footage of the diplomats in their seats and told the McCall Network that the scene “Sends a clear message that they do not support Ukraine.”

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky appears on a screen during a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos © AP / Marcus Schreiber
China denies insulting Zelensky

However, Beijing has denied that its diplomats were even in the room at the time, and has called on Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin McCall to correct his remarks. CNN, however, first fixed the error.

“We’re sorry for the error on our Air. We’ve reached out to McCall’s office for a statement.” The network told the Global Times in an email on Thursday.

The Global Times published a detailed article on the mix on Wednesday. Citing other Chinese media sources, the newspaper noted that a man in the picture behind McCall appeared to be Vietnam’s deputy prime minister. Vietnamese media reported earlier this week that the deputy prime minister, Lee Min Khai, would visit Davos on Monday and Tuesday.

McCall, a member of the Republican Party’s China Task Force, has yet to address the issue.

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