Wed, Dec 12, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Canada mulling FIPA with Taiwan

SUPPORT:Canada is devoted to continuing to strengthen its trade and investment relations in the Asia-Pacific region, including Taiwan, Canada’s top diplomat said

By Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff writer, with CNA

Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland arrives at the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe summit in Milan, Italy, on Thursday.

Photo: Reuters

The Canadian government is considering signing a foreign investment promotion and protection agreement (FIPA) with Taiwan, Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland said on Friday amid escalating tensions between Ottawa and Beijing over the arrest of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou (孟晚舟).

Meng, the daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei (任正非), was arrested on Dec. 1 in Vancouver on an extradition warrant issued by the US on allegations that Huawei tried to evade US sanctions on Iran.

Beijing has condemned Meng’s arrest and demanded that the Canadian government immediately release her, warning of “grave consequences” if it did not.

Freeland made the remark at the Canadian parliament while answering a question from Conservative lawmaker Mark Warawa about Canada-Taiwan relations, the Central News Agency (CNA) reported yesterday.

While Taipei had previously expressed a strong interest in signing such an agreement with Canada, it was the first time that Ottawa has publicly commented on the possibility, CNA said.

Some observers have drawn attention to the timing of Freeland’s comments, questioning whether they were made to balance the pressure from China.

Canada supports Taiwan’s democracy and would continue to bolster trade and civil ties with it within the framework of Canada’s “one China” policy, Freeland said.

She made the remark in response to Warawa’s question as to whether the Canadian government’s policy toward Taiwan had changed in the wake of Air Canada and the Royal Bank of Canada’s decisions to list Taiwan as a part of China on their Web sites.

Canada opposes any moves that would change the “status quo” or escalate tensions in the Taiwan Strait, Freeland said.

Although private companies are responsible for the content on their Web sites, the Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has expressed disappointment over China’s interference in private firms to force them to take a stance on political issues, she said.

The ministry told Chinese officials that Canadian companies should be able to manage their Web sites with no political interference, Freeland said.

Canadian officials have also met with Taiwanese officials to inform them that Canada’s long-standing “one China” policy had not changed, she said.

Canada is devoted to continuing to strengthen its trade and investment relations in the Asia-Pacific region, including Taiwan, she said, adding that this would be done with shared values and the large number of Canadians residing abroad serving as the foundation.

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