Canada Canada-China spat heats up over ambassador's alleged threat

23:50  19 october  2020
23:50  19 october  2020 Source:   msn.com

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China ’ s ambassador to Canada Cong Peiwu issued a somewhat unprecedented threat to Ottawa late this week When pressed over whether the statements were a threat , the ambassador left if open, replying Cong had also taken Trudeau' s prior statements to task alleging the mainland' s “coercive

Canada ' s PM says China "plays by a very different set of rules and principles than we do in the The US wants her extradited to be tried on charges of fraud linked to alleged violation of sanctions on The prime minister' s remarks come a day after Canada announced its new ambassador to China .

TORONTO — The diplomatic spat between Canada and China grew more heated on Monday as Beijing denounced press criticism of its ambassador to Ottawa, only to have Canada's deputy prime minister and opposition leader echo the criticism.

The exchange comes at a moment when ties between the countries are at their lowest point in years, largely due to China’ outrage over Canada’s detention of a top executive of Chinese telecoms giant Huawei and the subsequent arrest of two Canadians.

The new friction arose when China's ambassador to Canada, Cong Peiwu, branded pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong as violent criminals and said if Canada grants them asylum it would amount to interference in China’s internal affairs.

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China ’ s ambassador to Canada , Cong Peiwu, made what some in Canada viewed as a threat against Canadians in Hong Kong. Ambassador Cong Peiwu criticised for comment about ‘health and safety’ of Canadians in Hong Kong if Canada gives asylum to the city’ s activists.

China ’ s ambassador to Canada has warned of “repercussions” if Ottawa does block Huawei. The US is seeking Ms Meng’ s extradition on the grounds of fraud, alleging she lied to American banks about Huawei’ s business relationships in order to circumvent sanctions on Iran.

“If the Canadian side really cares about the stability and the prosperity in Hong Kong, and really cares about the good health and safety of those 300,000 Canadian passport-holders in Hong Kong, and the large number of Canadian companies operating in Hong Kong SAR, you should support those efforts to fight violent crimes,” Cong said in a video news conference from the Chinese Embassy in Ottawa.

Asked if his remarks amounted to a threat, Cong replied, “That is your interpretation.”

Canada's deputy prime minister, Chrystia Freeland said in Parliament on Monday that the ambassador's comments “are not in any way in keeping with the spirit of appropriate diplomatic countries between two countries.”

Freeland said Canada will speak out for human rights in China and said Canada will support its citizens living in Hong Kong. "Let me also reassure the 300,000 Canadians in Hong Kong that a Canadian is a Canadian and we will stand with them.” Freeland said.

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  John Ivison: No amount of smooth diplomatic phrases can mask China's bullying The stale jargon of Chinese diplomacy is designed to make threats and bullying sound respectable. China’s ambassador in Ottawa, Cong Peiwu, was asked to explain alarming comments made by President Xi Jinping that his nation’s troops should be preparing for war. China’s path of peaceful development is enshrined in its constitution, Cong told reporters on a video conference call to mark 50 years of Canada-China relations. “But of course, we have to be careful about our external environment in the South China Sea. It is generally stable but the U.S. is trying to make trouble in the region.” He categorized the U.S.

Canada ' s ambassador to China retracts controversial remarks on Huawei case. Former diplomat Michael Kovrig and businessman Michael Spavor were taken by Chinese authorities in December over charges they had "endangered China ' s national security."

Mr McCallum was appointed Canada ' s ambassador to China in 2017, stepping down as the immigration minister. Mr McCallum' s wife is ethnically Chinese , and he had a large Chinese - Canadian population in his former constituency in Ontario.

Her statements came hours after Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian told reporters that his government had complained to Canada over press criticism of Cong's remarks. He said Canadian leaders “did not verify, but also condoned the anti-China comments spreading across the nation and made groundless accusations against China.”

He didn't specify the media criticism, but the Toronto Sun on Saturday published an editorial calling on Cong to apologize, adding. “If he won’t apologize and retract his threats, boot him back to Beijing.”

Meanwhile, Erin O'Toole, the leader of Canada's main opposition Conservative party, said Monday that Cong had threatened Canadians in Hong Kong and called on the envoy to either apologize or leave.

Cherie Wong, the executive director of Alliance Canada Hong Kong, a group that advocates for Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement, called Cong’s comment a “direct threat” to all Canadians.

Kelly McParland: Canada needs more than just words in its spat with China

  Kelly McParland: Canada needs more than just words in its spat with China Numerous headlines on Friday claimed that Canada and China were in a “war of words.” Sigh. Of course they would. Like it or not, Canada is not a place the world looks to for decisiveness. God forbid we should take a clear stand. With us, it’s always words. Tough talk. A harsh (but not too harsh) rebuke. A slight toughening of the prime ministerial response to the latest insult. Last week, Canada’s ambassador to the United Nations, Bob Rae, got positive ratings for telling a Chinese representative that Canada “won’t forget” Beijing’s ongoing displays of diplomatic bullying. Gee, that’s nice.

The Chinese government is pushing Canada to release Meng Wanzhou, the Huawei chief financial officer detained for violating US sanctions on Iran, as Ottawa braces for relations with Beijing to worsen and urges President Donald Trump not to politicize the situation.

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“It should not be lost on Canadians living in Hong Kong or China, they could be next. Ambassador Cong suggested so himself,” Wong said.

Protests against the Hong Kong and mainland Chinese governments swelled last year, and Beijing clamped down on expressions of anti-government sentiment in the city with a new national security law that took effect June 30.

The law outlaws subversive, secessionist and terrorist activity, as well as collusion with foreign powers to interfere in the city’s internal affairs. The U.S., Britain and Canada accuse China of infringing on the city’s freedoms.

Cong also rejected Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s assertion that China is engaging in coercive diplomacy by imprisoning two Canadian men in retaliation for the arrest of a Chinese Huawei executive on an American extradition warrant. The executive, Meng Wanzhou, is living under house arrest in Vancouver while her case wends through a British Columbia court.

In December 2018, China imprisoned two Canadian men, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, and charged them with undermining China's national security. Convicted Canadian drug smuggler Robert Schellenberg was also sentenced to death in a sudden retrial shortly after Meng’s arrest.

Rob Gillies, The Associated Press

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