Beijing Draws Line In Canada Row Amid Meng Wanzhou Case
Beijing has made it clear that it will most likely keep snubbing Ottawa's offer to hold talks regarding Canadians detained in Canada as the U.S. government continues to pressure its northern counterpart to extradite Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou to the United States.
According to CBC News, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang hinted that Beijing will probably shrug off Canadian efforts to negotiate about the detainees in China until Meng is released.
"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," Geng said, adding that the Chinese government hopes Ottawa will take China's request "seriously."
Geng went on to state that the Canadian government should take the necessary steps to redeem China-Canada relations by first settling the case with Huawei's chief financial officer.
Analysts noted that this is the first time Beijing drew the line in diplomatic relations as Canada appears to be giving in to Washington's pressure about China's leading tech provider.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said last week that he is looking forward to speaking with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 Summit that will take place in Osaka, Japan within two weeks.
Beijing's statements came following reports that Trudeau tried to negotiate terms on potentially releasing the detained Canadians. China reportedly ignored the PM's attempts.
The same is reportedly true for Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, who said she tried to schedule a meeting with China's Wang Yi to no avail. Freeland also reiterated that she is still willing to approach the Chinese government for talks.
On Thursday, Freeland clarified that the Canadian government will not hamper plans to extradite Meng to the U.S. She said Ottawa only followed treaty rules on extradition and will follow through to the end.
Former Prime Minister Jean Chretien reportedly dropped the suggestion that Canada can intervene in the extradition case but Freeland reiterated that what Ottawa has done so far "is the right way."
The China-Canada dispute has started affecting some sectors, particularly agriculture. China blocked some shipments from Canada in billions as the row escalates and Meng awaits a hearing in January.
Chinese Ambassador to Canada Lu Shaye said last week that his government wants to end the dispute but he stressed that Beijing is waiting on Ottawa to make an effort to "meet each other halfway" regarding detained Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor as well as Meng's extradition case.
China has yet to confirm if Xi will attend the G20 conference later this month as Beijing's relationships with Washington and Ottawa stay at an impasse.