OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says China uses arbitrary detentions as a tool to achieve its international and domestic political goals.
He brands that as a pressure tactic that is worrying not only to Canada, but to its Western allies.
Trudeau offered that assessment during a meeting today with the editorial board of the Toronto Star where he was asked to respond to the latest upbraiding of Canada by the spokesman for China’s foreign ministry.
Asked earlier today about Trudeau’s appointment of business consultant Dominic Barton as Canada’s new ambassador to China, spokesman Geng Sheng said Canada needs to reflect on its “mistakes” and immediately release Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou, who was arrested on a U.S. extradition request.
China has imprisoned two Canadian men, ex-diplomat Michael Kovrig and entrepreneur Michael Spavor, on suspicion of spying in what is widely viewed as retaliation for Meng’s arrest.
Trudeau says he doesn’t want to escalate tensions with China, but notes Beijing gave speedy approval to Canada’s request to appoint Barton as its ambassador.