Canada's ambassador to China loses job over Huawei comments

Canada's ambassador to China loses job over Huawei comments

The ongoing tension between the Canadian and Chinese government over the detainment of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou took an unexpected turn on Saturday when Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau fired his ambassador to China for controversial statements on the extradition case. 

Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Vancouver on December 1, on the basis of a US warrant based on the violation of the trade sanctions against Iran. She has since been released on bail and awaits an extradition hearing on February 6. Since her arrest, China has detained two Canadian citizens and sentenced a convicted Canadian drug smuggler to death.

In the midst of this John McCallum, Canadian ambassador to China, embarrassed Trudeau's Liberal party by saying that the Huawei Chief had has "strong arguments" against her extradition from Canada and that "From Canada’s point of view, if (the US) drops the extradition request, that would be great for Canada."

meng wanzhou 1280
Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou. / © Huawei

Whether that is Canada's point of view or not, the impression of yielding to Beijing's hardline tactics on the issue is not a good look for Canada, and although McCallum has since walked back on his remarks, claiming that he "misspoke", Prime Minister Trudeau has confirmed that he has asked for and accepted McCallum's resignation. Rather than discuss the reasons, or a replacement, Trudeau wishes to focus the conversation on the detained Canadians: Michael Kovrig, a Canadian diplomat on leave, and businessman Michael Spavor.

Huawei is increasingly at the center of a struggle for global technological influence between the US and China, as the race to build 5G networks around the world could see China poised make inroads in Europe, Africa and other Asian countries, at the expense of the US.

US intelligence agencies, who accuse Huawei of spying for the Chinese Communist Party (without any definitive evidence yet available to the public), are urging allies to forsake doing business with Huawei, but the tech giant continues to build relationships and infrastructure in new markets. Whether any new information will be brought to light at Meng Wanzhou's hearing on February 6 remains to be seen.

What do you think about the deepening crisis between Canada and China? 

Source: The Guardian

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