Sun, Feb 17, 2019 - Page 1 News List

US must be tough on China ‘grabbing’ Canadians: senator


US Senator Lindsey Graham speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington on Jan. 8.

Photo: AP

The response by the US to China detaining two Canadians in apparent retaliation for the arrest of a Chinese Huawei Technologies Co (華為) executive has not been strong enough, US Senator Lindsey Graham said on Friday.

Graham also told Munich Security Conference delegates that the international reaction to China’s arrest of former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig and entrepreneur Michael Spavor has not been enough to persuade Beijing that its apparent use of hostage diplomacy would not be tolerated.

“The [US] president has been tough on China, but this is one area where I think we need to make a more definitive statement, because the two people arrested in China had nothing to do with the rule of law. It was just grabbing two Canadians,” Graham said.

Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland, who appeared on the panel with Graham, mouthed the words “thank you” to Graham after he said it.

Roland Paris, one of the delegates and a former foreign policy adviser to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, asked Graham about it.

US Ambassador to Canada Kelly Craft on Saturday last week said that her country was “deeply concerned” about China’s “unlawful” detention of the two Canadians.

It was her first public comment on the situation since China detained the men on Dec. 10 last year in an apparent attempt to pressure Canada to release Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou (孟晚舟), who was arrested on Dec. 1 at the request of the US.

The US wants her extradited to face charges that she committed fraud by misleading banks about Huawei’s business dealings in Iran.

China also resentenced a convicted Canadian drug smuggler to death after the Meng arrest, as part of an apparent campaign of intimidation against Canada.

Some analysts have said the US response to China’s arrests of the two Canadians has been muted.

Trump has not commented on the Canadians, but US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has, saying that China ought to release them.

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