Academics, former envoys to China press Xi to free two detained Canadians
|Toronto Star 21 Jan 2019 at 13:22|
Tensions created by China’s move “will lead to less dialogue and greater distrust, and undermine efforts to manage disagreements and identify common ground. Both China and the rest of the world will be worse off as a result,” the envoys say.
The letter comes as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urges other world leaders to speak out against Beijing’s actions in the aftermath of the arrest last month of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver. She now faces extradition to the U.S., where she is wanted in connection with alleged Iran sanctions violations. China captured Kovrig and Spavor nine days later, and has since sentenced a third Canadian man to death on a drug charge.
Meng is out on bail, while the Canadians remain in Chinese custody, being questioned for up to four hours daily.
As Trudeau presses for their release, his government is weighing whether to restrict or ban Huawei from its 5G networks. “We will make the decision that’s in Canada’s best interest and we will not compromise security,” Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale told reporters in Ottawa on Monday.
China’s ambassador to Ottawa, Lu Shaye, warned last week there would be repercussions if Canada doesn’t make a “wise decision” on ultra-fast, next-generation wireless technology. On Monday, however, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Lu “did not mean that China intends to interfere in the decision-making of the Canadian government,” according to a Chinese transcript of the daily press briefing.
“We all know that Huawei is a leading supplier in the 5G technology, so losses are inevitable if Huawei is not chosen as a co-operation partner,” she said.