Trudeau looks to Biden for help in dispute with China

10 November 2020, 00:24

Justin Trudeau
Justin Trudeau speaks with the Queen. Picture: PA

Canada’s prime minister is the first international leader to speak with Mr Biden since his US election victory.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he has spoken with US President-elect Joe Biden about China’s imprisonment of two Canadians in retaliation for the arrest of a senior Huawei executive.

Mr Trudeau said he expected Mr Biden to be an effective partner in persuading Beijing to release them.

The prime minister’s office said Mr Trudeau was the first international leader to speak with Mr Biden since US news media determined he won the election. His office said they talked about a number of issues including the coronavirus pandemic, climate change and the detained Canadians.

Beijing arrested former diplomat Michael Kovrig and businessman Michael Spavor in December, 2018, just days after Canada detained Meng Wanzhou, a Chinese Huawei executive and the daughter of the company’s founder.

Canada Huawei China United States
Chief Financial Officer of Huawei Meng Wanzhou outside her residence in Vancouver last week (Jonathan Hayward/AP)

The US is seeking Meng’s extradition on fraud charges and her extradition case is before the Canadian courts. Her arrest severely damaged relations between China and Canada. China has also sentenced two other Canadians to death and suspended canola imports.

Mr Trudeau earlier said China’s attempt at coercive diplomacy by imprisoning two Canadians in retaliation for the arrest of a top Huawei executive was not working.

“Their approach of coercive diplomacy is ineffective,” Mr Trudeau told a news conference.

“I am extremely confident that the incoming administration will continue to be a good partner to Canada and other nations around the world as we look to impress upon China that the approach they are taking is simply not working.”

President-elect Joe Biden, who spoke with Justin Trudeau on Monday (Carolyn Kaster/AP)

Meng, the chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies, is living in a luxury Vancouver home while her extradition case continues in a British Columbia court.

The US has accused Huawei of using a Hong Kong shell company to deceive banks and conduct business with Iran in violation of US sanctions.

A senior Canadian government official said the majority of the Biden-Trudeau call was about the pandemic.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the US-Canada border, which remains closed to non-essential travel, was also mentioned as a topic to be discussed once Mr Biden was president.

By Press Association

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