Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Canada urges unity against China detentions, says all nations vulnerable

PM Justin Trudeau wants allies to continually raise the question of Beijing's coercive diplomacy.

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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has urged nations around the world to maintain a unified front against Chinese detentions of foreign citizens, saying every country is vulnerable.

Trudeau made his remarks as China offered more consular access to two Canadian men it arrested in December 2018 and charged with spying.

Canada has repeatedly called on its partners to press Beijing for their release.

“We have a tremendous level of alignment, not just with the US but with allies around the world, to continually bring up the question of the coercive diplomacy that China is increasingly using,” Trudeau said in an interview at the Reuters Next summit that aired on Thursday.

“We must all stand together because who knows whose citizens might be next?”

China detained the two men after Canadian police picked up Huawei Technologies chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou on a US arrest warrant. She is currently under house arrest in Vancouver as she fights extradition.

Syrine Khoury, spokesman for Foreign Minister Marc Garneau, said Canada has obtained agreements involving increased family and consular access to the two men in recent months but gave no details.

A source familiar with the case told Reuters that since October, consular visits have been restored to levels seen before the pandemic. The families of the two men have also spoken to them once by phone, said the source, who requested anonymity given the sensitivity of the situation.

Khoury also said Canadian immigration officials have allowed family members to visit Meng, while taking account of Canada’s strict travel restrictions to combat the coronavirus.

A spokesman for Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino declined to comment when asked whether the permission for Meng’s family was linked to the increased consular access for the two Canadians detained in China.

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