(Ottawa) Canada will not yield to pressure from China to release a cadre of Chinese giant Huawei, whose extradition the United States is calling for, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau warned on Wednesday.
Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Chinese telecoms giant Huawei, was arrested on 1er December 2018 during a stopover in Vancouver, at the request of Washington, who accuses him of bank fraud.
Nine days later, China arrested former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig and a consultant, Michael Spavor. Like many Western leaders, Justin Trudeau sees the detention of his compatriots as a measure of retaliation.
“China continues to believe that if it applies enough pressure on us, we will give in, when it is the exact opposite of our position,” the Canadian prime minister said in an interview with the Financial Times.
“We don’t believe in coercive diplomacy,” Trudeau insisted. “We strongly believe that if you start to give in to this kind of pressure, you are going to find yourself in a worse position in the long run,” he added.
Describing the “arbitrary detention” of the two Canadians “extremely unfortunate”, he assured that his government was doing everything to obtain their release.
“But we will not give in on our principles,” he warned.
He also referred to “a fundamental misunderstanding” between China and Western countries on this issue.
Justin Trudeau spoke of the detention of the two Canadians on Monday during a phone call with US President-designate Joe Biden.
Mr. Trudeau then said he was “extremely confident” that Washington would keep the pressure on China to free the Canadians and “make Beijing understand” that “its approach just does not work.”
His remarks were condemned Tuesday by the Chinese Foreign Ministry.
“These Canadian citizens have been arrested and prosecuted by Chinese judicial authorities because they are suspected of having harmed national security,” spokesman Wang Wenbin told reporters, before making the connection with the case of the leader of Huawei.
“Mme Meng Wanzhou, she has been detained without reason for over 700 days, without having violated any Canadian law, ”he said.
The final hearing to determine whether Meng Wanzhou should be extradited is scheduled for next April.