ChinaCanada differences go beyond Beijings critical outgoing envoy Carr

OTTAWA — Canada’s trade minister is downplaying the forthcoming departure of China’s outspoken envoy to Ottawa, saying differences between the countries stretch beyond the ambassador’s level.Jim Carr says in an interview that the federal government is awaiting China’s decision on its replacement for outgoing ambassador Lu Shaye, who has had harsh words for Canada during his two-year tenure.Sources say the French-speaking Lu will leave his Ottawa post in the coming weeks for a new position in Paris.Canada’s relationship with its second-biggest trading partner has deteriorated rapidly since the December arrest of a Huawei senior executive in Vancouver following an extradition request by the United States.China was outraged by the arrest of Meng Wanzhou, and has since detained two Canadians on allegations of espionage, sentenced two Canadians to death for drug-related convictions and blocked key agricultural shipments such as canola.Asked about Lu’s criticisms, Carr says personalities are not at the centre of the diplomatic dispute, and that the ambassador’s job is to express the view of his government.Lu has used strong words when talking about the Canada-China relationship — for example, he told Canadian journalists last winter that Meng’s arrest was the “backstabbing” of a friend and evidence of white supremacism.He also warned of repercussions if the federal government bars Huawei from selling equipment to build a next-generation 5G wireless network in Canada.Carr said the Liberal government still hopes to solve the bilateral differences by engaging China on many levels, not just through an ambassador.“I would only assume that whatever is being spoken by the Chinese ambassador to Canada has the full support of the government, so this is an issue that goes beyond the ambassadorial level,” Carr said Wednesday before leaving for Japan on a trade mission to find new markets for Canadian products, including canola.“Of course, we await the decision of the Chinese government to replace the existing ambassador and we will reach out to whomever is in that place and make the same arguments to him or her that we’re making now.”Word of Lu’s departure comes at a time when Canada does not have an ambassador in Beijing. Last winter, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau fired Canada’s former ambassador to China, John McCallum, for going off-script in the government’s efforts to win the release of the two detained Canadians, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor. Before his posting in Beijing, McCallum was a longtime Liberal MP and cabinet minister.The Canadian Press read more

US Congress committee disappointed Lanka has rejected foreign judges

A US Congress committee on foreign relations has expressed disappointment at President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s decision to reject foreign judges in the domestic accountability process on the war.The views were expressed when the Congress Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific met to discuss Sri Lanka. Committee chairman Matt Salmon noted the negative impact the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime had on US-Sri Lanka relations and the progress made in Sri Lanka after January 8 last year. Statements were made at the discussion by Ms. Lisa Curtis, Senior Research Fellow at the Asian Studies Center at the Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy of the The Heritage Foundation and by Ms. Kara L. Bue, Founding Partner at Armitage International and Nimmi Gowrinathan, Visiting Professor at the Colin Powell Center for Civic and Global Leadership in New York.In her statement, Kara L. Bue said that the presidential and parliamentary elections of 2015 that brought President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe into power have resulted in a paradigm shift away from the authoritarian and chauvinistic rule of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa to a reform-minded era focused on good governance and reconciliation.This shift, she said, also has effectively ended Sri Lanka’s 10-year self-imposed exile from the international community. “Presently, the international community is largely focused on the Geneva human rights process. While important, greater economic opportunity and development are both key pieces of any peace dividend and should be supported. Sri Lankan government officials have discussed the need for an international donor’s conference for development in the North and East akin to the 2003 Tokyo’s Donor Conference. Consideration should be given to such an effort,” she added. Salmon also raised concerns on Sri Lanka’s relationship with China, including the construction of a port city in Colombo with Chinese funds.The discussion on Sri Lanka was held under the topic “Sri Lanka’s Democratic Transition: A New Era for the US-Sri Lanka Relationship”. However he noted that there still remains some concerns on Sri Lanka even after January 8 last year, including on the failure to agree to foreign judges to be part of the domestic accountability process in the war. Armitage International was formed in March 2005 by Richard L. Armitage, former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State.He was in Sri Lanka recently where he met the Government and the Tamil National Alliance (TNA).(Colombo Gazette) read more