As a result of a nasty row at the United Nations over a prisoner swap, China-Canada ties have been irreversibly harmed.
CHINA and Canada have had a tense standoff over “hostages” on both sides of the UN General Assembly this week, with long-term consequences for the two countries’ relations.
In the last hours of the UN General Assembly, a heated argument between China and Canada culminated with both sides accusing the other of illegal hostage-taking and “arbitrary detention.” The diplomatic spat occurred less than a week after the two countries announced the release of three high-profile detainees who had been at the center of the two countries’ escalating tensions for nearly three years.
Meng Wanzhou, a Chinese tech executive, was released on Friday after being held in Canada for nearly three years.
She returned to Shenzen just hours after China released two Canadians, Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, dubbed “the two Michaels.”
China accused the two Michaels of spying in 2018, but disputed that their detention was in response to Ms Meng’s arrest.
As emotions mounted in the last hours of the UN General Assembly, the situation threatened to boil over.
“Canada observed the rule of law, and two Canadian individuals paid a high price for this dedication,” Foreign Minister Marc Garneau said. We will continue to fight the treatment of these two wonderful persons.” Mr Garneau said Ms Meng had been placed under house arrest in accordance with “both Canadian and international law in response to a request for the extradition of a Chinese person.”
Later, a member of China’s UN General Assembly delegation invoked the country’s right of reply, accusing the US and Canada of holding Meng under house arrest arbitrarily and without “legal justifications.”
Ms Meng was wanted in the United States, but she was released after a compromise was reached between Canadian and American authorities.
Ms Meng admitted to deceiving US investigators about Huawei’s business dealings in Iran before her release.
“The underlying objective was to surprise Chinese high-tech industries and companies as a strategy to hold back Chinese growth in terms of science and technology,” Liu Yang, a counsellor in China’s UN mission, said.
“The actions of the United States and Canada are characteristic of arbitrary detention.”
China said the charges against the two Michaels were “iron-clad,” and denied that their incarceration had anything to do with Ms Meng.
“Brinkwire Summary News,” Mr. Liu said.