The Foreign ministers of Canada and China discussed national ties on Tuesday, April 5 during their first direct talk since 2020. According to the readouts from both sides, different interests were spelled out.

Mélanie Joly, Canadian Foreign Minister, reminded China about its stance in the Ukraine war, saying that “Canada and the world are closely looking at China’s actions and next steps.”

She also mentioned the arbitrary detention, which was a reference to China’s arrest of the two Michaels. Canada previously said Beijing was committing hostage diplomacy by apprehending two Canadian citizens after Canada detained Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou on a United States extradition request. Beijing has refuted the allegations.

According to the readout from China’s side, Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi criticized Canada’s arrest of Huawei’s Meng, saying “no country should embolden this unilateral bullying by “playing the jackal to the tiger,” a Chinese proverb indicating “help a villain do evil.”

The statement, however, did not specify if Wang was responding to Canada’s concern about hostage diplomacy.

Wang additionally cautioned Canada about its stance on the Taiwan-China issue, noting that it should “not set new obstacles to China-Canada relations.”

He said, “If the Taiwan question is not handled properly, China-Canada relations will suffer fundamental damage. China hopes that Canada will adopt a correct attitude and position on issues concerning China’s core interests.”

China’s version of the conversation said that Canada “appreciates China’s important contributions to the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, and stands ready to strengthen cooperation with China on climate change, environmental protection and pandemic response.”

It however did not mention that Canadian Minister Joly reiterated concerns about the ongoing human rights violations in China, including Xinjiang.

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