Canada will not be intimidated by the expulsion of a Canadian consul by Chinaafter Ottawa this week ousted a Chinese diplomat accused of attacking a lawmaker critical of Beijing, the prime minister said on Tuesday. Justin Trudeau.
“We decided that we had to move forward responsibly to send a very clear message that we will not accept foreign interference and that, whatever the next decisions they make, we will not be intimidated,” Trudeau told reporters in Ottawa, after Beijing accused his government of trying to “sabotage” bilateral relations.
Canada announced on Monday the expulsion of a Chinese diplomat, Zhao Wei, from its consulate in Toronto, plunging the two nations into a new diplomatic row after years of icy relations.
A few hours later, China responded by expelling the Canadian consul in Shanghai, jennifer lalondeaccusing Canadian politicians and media of exaggerate the accusations of foreign interference in Ottawa affairs.
Beijing called it “reciprocal countermeasure in reaction to Canada’s unscrupulous move.”
“Declaring a foreign diplomat persona non grata is a significant and serious step,” Trudeau acknowledged, saying it “demonstrates the steadfastness” of Canada’s resolve.
“We will continue to do whatever is necessary to keep Canadians safe from foreign interference or fear,” he added.
The Canadian measure was taken following allegations that Chinese intelligence services they had planned to sanction the deputy michael chong and their relatives in Hong Kong for sponsoring a motion condemning Beijing’s conduct in the Hong Kong region. xinjiang like genocide.
Zhao Wei would have played a role in the intrigue.
Relations between Beijing and Ottawa have been tense since Canada’s 2018 arrest of a senior Huawei executive and the detention of two Canadian citizens in China in apparent retaliation.
All three have been released, but Beijing has continued to lash out at Ottawa for siding with Washington’s China policy, while Canadian officials have regularly accused China of interference.
Tensions have flared up again in recent months.as Trudeau has faced mounting pressure to take a hard line on China following revelations that he tried to influence the 2019 and 2021 Canadian elections in favor of his party.
The spokesman for Chinese diplomacy, Wang Wenbincalled on Canada to cease “unwarranted provocations” and warned that Beijing will take “firm and forceful action” if Ottawa does not heed this advice.
Regarding the reports on the alleged intimidation against Chong, China criticized on Friday what it considered “unfounded slander and defamation” by Canada, after Ottawa summoned the Chinese ambassador the day before to discuss the issue.
The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs estimated that the scandal had been “exaggerated by some Canadian politicians and media”.
China expelled Canada’s consul in Shanghai, giving her five days to leave the country