Lots of intrigue in this escapade. High stakes spy allegations, international trade war and more.
In an unprecedented move, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Saturday said he had fired his ambassador to China, who prompted a political furor with comments about Huawei’s high-profile extradition case.
John McCallum had embarrassed Trudeau’s Liberal government by saying Huawei Technologies Co Ltd Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou could make a strong argument against being sent to the United States.
Opposition legislators and former ambassadors accused McCallum of unacceptable political interference in an affair which has badly damaged relations between Canada and China.
Meng, the daughter of Huawei’s founder, was arrested in Vancouver last month over alleged violations of U.S. sanctions on Iran.
China subsequently detained two Canadian citizens on national security grounds. A Chinese court later retried a Canadian man who had been jailed for drugs smuggling and sentenced him to death.
Possibly hostage taking under the color of law? I don’t know, but it strikes me as a reasonable question.
MORE: “Veteran diplomats and experts told Reuters it was the first time a Canadian ambassador had ever been officially fired.”
A BIT MORE:
Brock University professor Charles Burton, a former Canadian diplomat who had served two postings in China, said McCallum’s comments on Meng possibly avoiding extradition had signaled to Beijing that its hard line tactics were working.
“He really made it untenable for the prime minister to sustain him (in his post) for any length of time and he had to go,” Burton said by telephone, suggesting Trudeau should quickly appoint a special envoy to handle the dispute.
According to the report McCallum was a political appointee, not an experienced diplomat.