Canada’s prime minister holds brief talks with China’s president on the sidelines of the G20 amid tensions.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed “deep concern” over China’s interference in Canada during a briefing with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of this week’s Group of 20 (G20) summit in Indonesia.
The Prime Minister’s Office said in a reading on Tuesday that the two leaders discussed the North Korean and Russian invasion of Ukraine, with Trudeau “reiterating our concerns about interference in Canada”.
Last week, Canadian media Global News reported that Canadian law enforcement officials warned Trudeau that China is “targeting Canada with a major campaign to disrupt foreign elections”, including meddling in the 2019 elections.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) on Monday arrested another man in the province of Quebec for espionage, accusing 35-year-old Yuesheng Wang of obtaining trade secrets for the benefit of the Chinese government.
The Chinese embassy in Ottawa did not immediately respond to a request from Reuters to confirm the meeting between Trudeau and Xi on Tuesday, or what was discussed.
China-Canada relations have been strained for several years, especially after Canadian authorities arrested Huawei Technologies CEO Meng Wanzhou in 2018 on an arrest warrant in the United States. China then arrested two Canadians on espionage charges.
While the conflict ended when all three were released last year, relations have been strained over a number of disputes, including human rights and trade.
In June, Canada accused China of harassing its aircraft carrying out United Nations sanctions missions near North Korea. The Chinese government responded by accusing the Canadian military of “disruption” and warning Canada that it could face “serious consequences”.
In their talks on Tuesday, Trudeau and Xi “discussed the need to continue dialogue”, according to a statement from Trudeau’s office.
The two leaders last met in June 2019 on the sidelines of another G20 in Osaka, Japan. They have met three times before, once in 2015 on the sidelines of the G20 in Turkey, and twice during their visit to Beijing in 2016 and 2017.
“We’re talking about a relationship that’s been very cold for years, so it’s not surprising that dealing with a first-time leader would be strange,” said Roland Paris, Trudeau’s former foreign policy adviser and professor of international affairs. University of Ottawa.
Meanwhile, Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly met with her Chinese counterpart on Tuesday and expressed concern over reports of interference in Canada’s internal affairs.
“I have said it many times and I said it to my friend: we will not accept the interference of foreign governments in our elections and we will not allow any interference in Canada – period. , “Joly told reporters from the G20. “It is not a discussion. It is impossible.”