Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a one-year interview with local media that Western democracies must stand together against a China that he says “is playing with each other.” “We need to do a better job of working together and standing firm. That China can’t, you know, play in the corner and divide us against each other,” he told Global Television in an interview aired late Saturday.
Using the example of Canadian vs. Australian beef sales to China’s growing middle class – and allowing Beijing to set conditions often – the prime minister described Western powers’ competition for access to Chinese markets. “We are competing and China is playing against each other in a very competitive way in the open market with great cunning from time to time,” he said.
Trudeau said the West must “show a united front … so that China cannot play corners and divide us against one another” and use “coercive diplomacy”. Canada-China relations sank in December 2018 when Beijing responded to Canadian arrests on a U.S. warrant issued by Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou – detaining two Canadians – former diplomat Michael Coverig and businessman Michael Spavor – and blocking some Canadian imports.
All three were released in September after Meng reached an agreement with U.S. prosecutors over the allegations and ended his fight for extradition. Earlier this month, Ottawa joined US-led countries in a diplomatic boycott of the February Winter Olympics in Beijing for China’s human rights record.
Ottawa is also considering banning Huawei’s 5G network.
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