Trudeau firing envoy ‘internal affair’, says China

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Beijing, Jan 28 (IANS) China on Monday said it would not comment on Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau firing his envoy to Beijing, calling the episode as Canada’s “internal affair”.

In an escalating dispute with China over the arrest of Chinese telecom giant Huawei’s Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou, Canadian envoy to China John McCallum said it would be “great for Canada” if the US dropped the request against Meng, suggesting the case was politically motivated.

McCallum later walked back his comments, saying he misspoke only to be fired by Trudeau who did not give any explanation for the envoy’s sacking.

“The matter you have mentioned is an internal affair for Canada. China will not comment,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a press conference.

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Beijing and Ottawa are locked in worsening dispute over Meng’s arrest for allegedly misleading banks in doing business with Iran in violation of the US sanctions.

China had arrested two Canadians — Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig — for allegedly endangering country’s internal security, which many see a retaliation to Meng’s arrest. However, Beijing says the arrests were not politically motivated.

Meanwhile, the Chinese state media reported that those attacking the envoy “should feel ashamed of themselves”.

“Trudeau’s firing of the ambassador shows how sensitive Ottawa is to the pickle it has got itself into at the behest of the US,” said China Daily.

“The best solution for Ottawa to emerge with any credibility from the mess it has created is to admit its error of judgment and return freedom to Meng.

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“It is hoped Ottawa will make the wise choice, a choice that is based on reason and fairness and not on political calculations of how to best get on with the country’s rambunctious southern neighbour,” the daily reported.

–IANS

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