Trudeau admits Canada in difficult situation with China as delegation visits, discusses detainees
|CTVnews 21 May 2019 at 10:27|
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau admits Canada is in a "difficult situation with China" but diplomatic efforts continue, as a Canadian delegation is on the ground in China making a case for the release of two detained Canadians.
Speaking with reporters after touring an aluminum plant in Quebec Trudeau said that Canadian officials continue to engage diplomatically, but criticized China for "making stronger moves" in an effort to "get its own way on the world stage.
Last week Chinese officials formally arrested the two Canadians who have been detained since December 2018, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, on the suspicion of stealing state secrets for foreign power. The two men were detained after Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Vancouver, following an extradition request from the United States.
The prime minister said that Canada is still pushing for the release of the two men, who Trudeau described as being "arbitrarily detained for political reasons."
Trudeau vowed that Canada is "going to continue to hold strong to stand up for our values and our principles."
There is a currently a parliamentary delegation in China, including foreign affairs parliamentary secretary Rob Oliphant. The delegation is discussing the detention of the two Canadians as part of their visit.
"The Canada-China Legislative Association is currently conducting a visit to China," said Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland s press secretary Adam Austen told CTV News in a statement. He said that, while there, Oliphant "has raised Canadas strong concerns regarding the arbitrary detention of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor during his meetings with Chinese government officials."
The same group conducted a bilateral meeting in China in January, when the detentions were also discussed.
Canada has been without a permanent ambassador to China since Trudeau fired former Liberal cabinet minister John McCallum in January over improper comments on Mengs arrest.
In the interim, Jim Nickel, who had been the deputy head of mission at Canadas embassy in Beijing, has been acting as Canada s representative in China.
Trudeau said that Canada has company in other western nations and democracies around the world who are also concerned about decisions and positioning that China has taken lately and have pulled together to state that the way China is acting is "not something that we need to continue to allow."