Canada marked its 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties with China. Canadian Prime Minster led the celebration by castigating Beijing for its practice of coercive diplomacy.
During a press conference, PM Trudeau said Canada will remain absolutely committed to working with its allies. This will be to ensure that China’s approach of coercive diplomacy and its arbitrary detention of two Canadian citizens alongside other citizens of other countries around the world is not viewed as a successful tactic by them.
According to media reports, Trudeau has also expressed concern over the protection of human rights in Hong Kong as well as that of the Uighur minority in China.
China’s Coercive Diplomacy Towards Canada
Two Canadians which include a former diplomat, remain in prison in China. This is a retaliatory measure after a senior executive of the Chinese telecom giant Huawei was detention in Vancouver in 2018 and faces trial. There were also chances of possible extradition to the US in a case related to bank fraud.
Canadian foreign minister Francois-Philippe Champagne also agreed upon Trudeau’s words. In a media statement, he said that it is unacceptable that any citizen should face detention arbitrarily. He demanded that Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor must be brought home. This is an incident for which all Canadians stand united. The use of coercive diplomacy by Beijing is causing Canada to re-examine its approach, with a focus on multilateral cooperation.
Chorus Of Criticism For China By The Canadian Leadership
Canada is currently framing a new Indo-Pacific policy in light of its deteriorating relations with China. Champagne also said that as a Pacific nation, the country’s future ties it to peace, prosperity, and stability in the region. He further said that Canada will work with its allies to hold the Chinese government accountable to its international obligations. Champagne further added that the common future of Canada and China depends on the rule of law. It also depends on the respect for freedoms, and rights and for people of all diversities.
These statements come at a time when China is at the center of a there is a chorus of criticism from the Canadian leadership. Canadian defense minister Harjit Sajjan had commented on how NATO needs to monitor Chinese activity. He specifically remarked on how particularly in the South China Sea, the Chinese activities need to be monitored. He also called out China for practicing hostage diplomacy.
Canada’s ambassador to the UN Bob Rae has said that the two Canadians facing detention in China were living in terrible conditions. He added that this is something that Canada will never forget. Recently, Canada’s ambassador in China was allowed virtual consular access to the two men. This was first time since January that China permitted the visit.