Trudeau Calls Ardern, Macri as Canada Warns on China Travel
(Bloomberg) -- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau continues to work the phones to rally support in Canada’s dispute with China.
Trudeau spoke Monday with Argentinian President Mauricio Macri and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, after calls last week to other world leaders including Donald Trump. Earlier Monday, he expressed “extreme concern” about China’s actions in the wake of Canada’s arrest of a Huawei Technologies Co. executive on a U.S. extradition request.
Trudeau’s office released summaries of the two calls. One said he discussed the “arbitrary detention of two Canadians in China” and “China’s application of the death penalty to a Canadian citizen” with Macri. Another said he and Ardern “discussed the detention and legal treatment of Canadian citizens in China and the need for all countries to respect judicial procedure and rule of law.”
Tensions continue to rise between the two countries, after a Chinese court sentenced Robert Schellenberg to death in a drug case Monday. The Canadian citizen will appeal the ruling. China executes more people than any other country in the world, and is one of only a handful to do so for drug charges.
Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Wednesday that Beijing isn’t concerned about international opposition in the wake of Schellenberg’s sentencing.
“The Canadian leader is extremely irresponsible in citing the word ‘arbitrary’ to comment on the sentence,” Hua said at a briefing Wednesday. “The remarks from Canadian leaders are what is truly ‘arbitrary,’ and miss the spirit of ‘rule of law.”’
Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said Tuesday that the country is seeking clemency for Schellenberg. “It is true that this is a difficult moment and our government will continue to advocate for the Canadians who are arbitrarily detained, and we will continue to seek clemency for Mr. Schellenberg,” Freeland said during a news conference in Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec.
China also seized two Canadians, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, on national security grounds as the government in Beijing complains about Canada’s arrest of Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver. Meng is out on bail, while Kovrig and Spavor remain in custody.
Ren Zhengfei, Huawei’s reclusive billionaire founder and Meng’s father, broke a years-long silence this week to insist his company doesn’t help Chinese intelligence services.
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