‘Hostage diplomacy’: Canada asks NATO to track China moves in South China Sea
Canada’s defence minister Harjit Sajjan has said that NATO needs to “monitor” China’s activities as the actions that it has been “demonstrating in the South China Sea are obviously concerning”.
Sajjan made these observations while participating in a panel discussion titled A Compass of Stability - NATO’s Ageless Utility, organised by the GLOBSEC Bratislava Forum, based in the Slovakian capital.
Sajjan, who appeared from Ottawa via video link, also accused China of indulging in “hostage diplomacy” by taking two Canadians, including a former diplomat, into detention in retaliation for the arrest of Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Huawei, in Vancouver in 2018.
“This type of hostage diplomacy is not what good rules-based-order nations do. So, if you want to be part of the global rules-based order, we need to have greater predictability,” Sajjan said, as per the agency Canadian Press.
Sajjan also said that such actions raised questions about China’s “true ambitions”, during the discussion hosted by the Slovakian think tank GLOBSEC.
“These are some of the things that we will continue to monitor, and we need to monitor in NATO,” he said, adding, “This is not just about being reactionary to a problem. It’s about making sure any nation out there sees the collective will of what NATO brings to the table, and that’s the strong message of defence and deterrence.”
These remarks came as relations between Canada and China continue to deteriorate. It started after Wanzhou was detained in a case related to bank fraud that could see her being extradited to the US. That resulted in a sharp response from Beijing, including the arrest of the two Canadians and the sentencing of others to death.
Canada has abandoned the possibility of a free trade deal with China as ties have worsened.