Freeland omits idea of dropping extradition, says it would set a ‘very dangerous precedent’.
The spiraling diplomatic row between Ottawa and Beijing “lies entirely with Canada,” the Chinese foreign ministry said Thursday — recommending for the first time that its leadership won’t speak with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau until Canada drops extradition proceedings against a Chinese telecom executive.
Beijing ignored a personal attempt by Trudeau earlier this year to arrange a discussion with China’s premier in order to intervene on behalf of Canadians detained in China. Trudeau’s office makes sure that the prime minister requested the meeting, but China ignored and ultimately refused his request.
Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland told CBC Radio last month she also sought a meeting with her Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, but was unsuccessful.
“What I can tell you is that the current setback China-Canada relations face are entirely caused by the Canadian side itself, and the responsibility lies entirely with Canada, too,” said Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang, when asked whether the two rejections signal a diplomatic freeze between the 2 countries.
“We hope that Canada will take seriously our severe concerns and immediately release Ms. Meng Wanzhou, and actively take substantial measures to push China-Canada relations back on track as soon as possible .”
This is the first overt link China has drawn between the diplomatic cold shoulder it’s giving Canada and its demand that Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou be released from Canadian custody.
The RCMP apprehended Meng on Dec . 1 while she was changing planes in Vancouver, in response to a request from the United States for her extradition to face charges of fraud and violating international sanctions against Iran. She has been launched on bail and is living in a multimillion-dollar Vancouver home in advance of her extradition hearing.
That same month, two Canadians — businessman Michael Spavor and former diplomat Michael Kovrig — were detained in China, a move widely considered retaliation for Meng’s arrest.
Former Canadian ambassador to China David Mulroney predicts there “won’t be a resolution” to the current chill unless Meng is released.