Chinese foreign minister says Canada not a ‘rival’ amid tense relations

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Chinese foreign minister says Canada not a ‘rival’ amid tense relations
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Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi on Saturday told his Canadian counterpart Melanie Joly that their two countries were “not rivals, let alone enemies”, as foreign interference fears in Ottawa weigh on a tense bilateral relationship.

Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi. File photo: BRICS.

The two diplomats met on the sidelines of the Munich security conference in Germany, where Wang addressed the gathering of 180 leaders and defence chiefs, vowing that China would be a “force for stability” in the world.

Relations between Beijing and Ottawa have been tense in recent years, after the arrest of a senior Chinese telecom executive on a US warrant in Vancouver in December 2018 and Beijing’s retaliatory detention of two Canadians on espionage charges plunged relations into a deep freeze.

Canada last year launched a public inquiry into foreign interference — notably by China — in its electoral and democratic institutions.

China has been accused of seeking to interfere in Canada’s 2019 and 2021 elections, with Ottawa expelling a Chinese diplomat in May 2023 over allegations of intimidation.

Wang on Saturday told Joly the “current difficult situation… is not what China wants to see”, according to a Chinese foreign ministry readout released Sunday.

Melanie Joly
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada Melanie Joly. File photo: Melanie Joly, via Twitter.

“The two sides are not rivals, let alone enemies, and should become cooperative partners,” Wang said.

Wang urged Canada to “stop hyping the ‘China threat theory’ and stop spreading false information about so-called China interference in domestic affairs”.

The two foreign ministers also discussed “issues critical to global security, including Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the crisis in the Middle East”, according to a Canadian government readout of the meeting.

“Both Ministers agreed that bilateral issues should continue to be discussed pragmatically and constructively, in a spirit of mutual respect, with regular communication between the two sides,” the readout added.

Dateline:

Beijing, China

Type of Story: News Service

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