Blindly following US will worsen Canada’s ties with China
Published: Jun 26, 2019 08:13 PM
Why have China-Canada relations become more and more tense? David Mulroney, a former Canadian ambassador to China, attributed it to "China's obvious disdain for a rules-based international order," the South China Morning Post reported on Sunday.

Mulroney claimed Canada will "join the US" in seeking to uphold a rules-based international order. Ironically, by doing so Canada will not be maintaining the existing international order, but safeguarding the US-Canada alliance, a relic of the Cold War era.  

China has no intention of disrupting the rules-based international order. The past decades have seen China constructively participate in the current international order under which it has been developing and rising. There is no reason for China to sabotage it. But it has to be acknowledged that the current international order is not flawless, under which emerging countries such as China can be unfairly targeted with certain Cold War elements still pervasive. 

Even though the Cold War ended in the early 1990s, the US is still stuck in a Cold War mentality and continues its Cold War practices, strengthening the US-centered alliance system to maintain global supremacy. Driven by a narrow-minded Cold War-era thinking, Washington views China, a rapidly rising power, as a rival that must be contained, while Ottawa has thoughtlessly become an accomplice of the US attempt at containment.

Relations between Canada and China have been plunging since December 2018 when Canada arrested Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Chinese tech giant Huawei at the behest of the US. The political nature of the Meng saga has been seen through by many international relations observers. Jeffrey Sachs, a professor of economics at Columbia University, in an interview with CBC News shortly after Meng's arrest, warned Canada to "reflect independently" instead of "being used and manipulated" by the US in creating a "new cold war" in international trade.

It's a pity that till now, Canada is still stubbornly acting as a pawn of the US in suppressing China. The Justin Trudeau government reportedly will lean on US power and the influence of US President Donald Trump to address some of Canada's disagreements with China at the upcoming G20 summit. It is suggested that Canada drop the illusion that this is the way to exert pressure on China. 

Accusing China of disdain for the rules-based international order cannot disguise the fact that China is not the side that caused and exacerbated the deterioration of relations between Beijing and Ottawa. More importantly, China is not the threat to the current international order. It is the US alliance system, under which countries may line up to confront and suppress an emerging power as they did during the Cold War, that risks undermining the current order. Ottawa should not equate the rules-based international order to the US-Canada alliance system. Otherwise, it will fail to grasp what on earth is going wrong between China and Canada. Blindly following the US will make Canada suffer more from the worsening ties with China.

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