Mark Slapinski with files from the Associated Press
November 12, 2020
OTTAWA – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is refusing to give into “gangster-like” demands from China to hand over a Huawei executive currently fighting extradition to the United States.
“We don’t believe in coercive diplomacy. We actually deeply believe that if you start giving into that kind of pressure, you’ll leave yourself worse off for the long term.”Justin Trudeau
The prime minister said his country “will not bend” with regards to the rule of law.
Relations between Ottawa and Beijing soured in December 2018 after Canadian police detained Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s chief financial officer and the daughter of the company’s founder, Ren Zhengfei. Meng was held at the request of the US where she was charged with violating sanctions on Iran. The executive was eventually released on bail, and is currently fighting extradition to the US from Canada.
Just days after Meng’s arrest, China detained two Canadian nationals, former diplomat Michael Kovrig and businessman Michael Spavor. Both men were charged with espionage.
Trudeau told Financial Times that China “arbitrarily” detained his compatriots in an effort to pressure Canada into releasing Meng. At the same time, he defended Meng’s detention, saying that Ottawa was fulfilling “an extradition treaty with our closest ally, the United States.”
Speaking about the tensions between the countries last month, Trudeau said that Canada would work with “like-minded nations” around the world to “impress upon China that its approach to internal affairs and global affairs is not on a particularly productive path for itself or for all of us.”
“What the Canadian side has done is arbitrary detention in every sense of the term and typical ‘coercive diplomacy.’”Zhao Lijian, Foreign Ministry spokesperson
The Chinese Foreign Ministry said that Meng is “an innocent Chinese citizen” who did not break any Canadian laws, and accused Canada of being “secretive” in not disclosing enough information about her case.
We talked about those specific challenges today, as well as trade, energy, NATO, anti-Black racism, and China’s arbitrary detention of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor. On these and other issues, President-elect @JoeBiden and I agreed to keep in touch and work closely together.— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) November 9, 2020
The Canadian Prime Minister recently brought up the issues with China in a talk with President-Elect Joe Biden. Trudeau hopes that with the help of Biden, he can help get the Canadian “hostages” released, without kowtowing to the Communist regime’s demands.