Date
16 December 2017
Canada's Foreign Minister Stephane Dion shakes hands with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi at the start of a meeting in Ottawa on June 1. Photo: Reuters
Canada's Foreign Minister Stephane Dion shakes hands with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi at the start of a meeting in Ottawa on June 1. Photo: Reuters

Canada presses China on citizen charged with spying

China has been questioned again over the detention of a Canadian national on charges of spying, with the issue taken up by the highest authorities in the Canadian government.

“The case … of Mr Garratt has been raised by the prime minister and by myself,” Canadian foreign minister Stephane Dion said in Ottawa Wednesday after talks with visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

“We never miss an opportunity to raise human rights, but the details should not be revealed publicly for the sake of Mr. Garratt. It’s something the two governments will have to work together (on),” Reuters quoted Dion as saying.

The minister was referring to Kevin Garratt, a Canadian citizen who was indicted in China in January on charges of spying and stealing state secrets.

China has held Garrat since August 2014 after detaining him in an area near the border with North Korea.

Dion, part of the new Liberal government led by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, said that while Canada seeks closer trade ties with China, it will not hesitate to speak out on sensitive matters.

Canada wants to improve human rights globally and therefore has to talk to China, which has a sixth of the world’s population, Dion said.

As for Wang, he did not mention the Garratt case but said through an interpreter that it was “normal and natural for our two countries to disagree on some issues”.

He, however, criticized a female Canadian reporter who asked the visiting minister about human rights problems in China.

“Your question is full of prejudice and against China and arrogance … I don’t know where that comes from. This is totally unacceptable,” Wang said, according to Canadian media.

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