China’s Foreign Ministry says relations with Canada are now at “at a crossroads”. This comes in wake of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau accusing Beijing of engaging in “coercive diplomacy.”
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian accused Trudeau of “misunderstanding” and “miscalculating” Canada’s approach to Beijing. Zhao was responding to Trudeau’s comments, in which he suggested China was playing democratic countries off one another and urged a “united front” against China’s “coercive diplomacy.”
“Does Canada see China as a partner or a rival? This is a fundamental question bearing on the future of bilateral ties that Canada must think through,” Zhao said, prompted by a question from state broadcaster China Central Television.
“China attaches importance to relations with Canada and holds that we should grow bilateral ties on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit.… Canada should replace its wrong perception of China with an objective and rational view, adopt a positive and pragmatic China policy, work with the Chinese side in the same direction and bring bilateral relations back onto the right track of development.”
Trudeau told Stephenson he believes democratic countries need to do a better job at countering Beijing’s tactics.
“We compete with each other. We’re trying to see how could we get better access for Canadian beef than Australian beef to this country or that market,” Trudeau said.
“We’ve been competing and China has been from time to time very cleverly playing us off each other in an open-market, competitive way. We need to do a better job of working together and standing strong so that China can’t, you know, play the angles and divide us one against the other.”
The prime minister added that President Xi Jinping’s China today is “no longer the China that we thought about 10 years ago or even five years ago in some ways.”