Meng Wanzhou's case a test for how much Canada values relations with China: experts

By Wan Lin Source: Global Times Published: 2020/9/6 22:38:40

Meng Wanzhou Photo: VCG

China's recent reiteration of its stance on the detention of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou is a message to Ottawa that the judgment on Meng's case will serve as a key indicator of whether Ottawa will prioritize the mutual interests of the two countries, independent from the US, in its future relations with China, experts said, following a series of indications from Chinese diplomats, including the latest statement issued by the Chinese embassy in Canada on Sunday, that said Meng's detention is the main obstacle to current China-Canada relations.

Chinese ambassador to Canada, Cong Peiwu, made the comments during an interview with Canadian newspaper La Presse on Tuesday, urging Canada to release Meng soon to bring the damaged relations between the two countries back on track. 

The Canadian government has known from the beginning the high political nature of Meng's arrest, which is a grave political event concocted by the US to suppress China's high-tech companies. But the country still committed a serious misstep by acting as an accomplice of the US, which has left China-Canada relations stuck in trouble, Cong said.

Cong's remarks echoed those of Lu Kang, director-general of the Department of North American and Oceanian Affairs of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, who pointed out that Canada is the only country willing to detain Meng at US request and Meng's detainment has deprived the two countries of many cooperation opportunities in an interview published on Friday with Canadian media, as well as Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who called on the Canadian government to make the correct choice over Meng to eliminate obstacles between the two countries at a meeting with Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs Fran?ois-Philippe Champagne on August 25 during his trip to Europe. 

Li Haidong, a professor at the Institute of International Relations at the China Foreign Affairs University, said that China's recent reiteration of its stance on Meng's detention is a reminder to Canada that China is still willing to maintain the past healthy relationship with Canada and to strengthen bilateral cooperation in the future as long as the country can fairly judge Meng's case, which will be reopened in late September. 

"China has sent a message to Ottawa that the judgment on Meng will be an important test of whether Canada will equally value its relations with China and make decisions independent of the US'  influence on issues in the future," Li told the Global Times on Sunday. 

Jin Canrong, associate dean of the Renmin University of China's School of International Studies, believes that Canada has appeared to take initiatives in recent meetings with Chinese officials as the two media interviews respectively with Ambassador Cong and Lu, head of North America and Oceania office, and Canadian Foreign Minister Francois-Phillipe Champagne's meeting with State Councilor Wang in Rome were closely arranged before the upcoming reopening of Meng's case. 

"These meetings show Canada's wish to strengthen communication with China over the case, especially under the domestic pressure blaming the government for not handling the matter well and hurting the country's economy," Jin said. 

Meng was detained in Vancouver in December 2018, after the US issued a warrant for her arrest over bank and wire fraud, which was later refuted by Huawei in July by providing evidence showing that HSBC, the bank that the US accused Meng of defrauding, actually conspired with the US to set a "political trap" for the company and gave false testimony to the court. 

"The Chinese government's recent voices are also urging the Canadian judiciary to reveal more impartial and objective information about the case so that Canadian society, media and people around the world can know the truth," Li noted. 

Posted in: POLITICS

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