Canadian Senate needs better understanding of China's sovereignty

By Su Tan Source:Global Times Published: 2018/4/25 21:18:41

The Canadian Senate Tuesday passed a motion criticizing China for "escalating and hostile behavior" in the South China Sea and urging Beijing to cease militarizing the region through activities like building artificial islands. Proposed by Conservative Senator Thanh Hai Ngo, the vote was held up for almost two years.

China has reiterated on various occasions that the South China Sea islands have been China's territory since ancient times. Hence Canadian senators are in no position to speak out on China's legitimate activities on its territory and meddle in China's sovereignty. 

Meanwhile, the Senate seems to not identify with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's policy toward China. Trudeau apparently expected to push forward relations with China and deepen cooperation in all fields. The two countries are entering a golden era with wide-ranging cooperation, as hailed by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang during Trudeau's visit to China in December.

It's awkward to see a country irrelevant to the South China Sea issue show its concerns from afar while related countries have worked to ease tensions considerably and solve the dispute through negotiations. The Philippines, which had taken the South China Sea dispute to the international Permanent Court of Arbitration, now cooperates with China on developing maritime resources.

Canadian senators who voted in favor of the motion may have to think over the South China Sea issue from another perspective. What if China passed a similar motion advocating Quebec independence and supporting its separation from Canada? They would then get a fresh idea of how to act more responsibly.

Canadian Senator Paul Yuen Woo, a leader of the Independent Senate Group, may have told the truth. He said the upper chamber was not sufficiently informed on evolving foreign policy matters to make such a pronouncement and the motion would not contribute to easing tensions or help Canadian interests in the region, The Globe and Mail reported. Probably the Senate would want to take a ride in criticizing China as the West becomes more vigilant of China. But the move has missed the point.

Canada's first prime minister, Sir John A. Macdonald, expected the Senate to be a place of "sober second thought."

But in voting on the motion, unfortunately the senators have failed to act in a sober manner. The scandal-ridden Senate had better ask its members to spend some time learning more about what's happening worldwide before they turn their votes into a laughing stock.



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