Home World U.S. News Huawei Controversy: Canadian PM Fires Ambassador to China

Huawei Controversy: Canadian PM Fires Ambassador to China


Canadian PM Justin Trudeau has fired the country’s ambassador to China, John McCallum.

The move follows controversial comments John McCallum made about an extradition case involving a senior executive from the Chinese telecoms giant Huawei.

PM Trudeau said in a statement he had asked John McCallum to step down, but did not offer a reason.

The detention of Huawei’s CFO Meng Wanzhou, at the request of the US, angered China and soured Canada’s relations with Beijing.

Meng Wanzhou is accused by the US of evading sanctions on Iran. Both she and Huawei deny those allegations.

She was arrested on December 1 in Canada’s western city of Vancouver at the request of the US.

Meng Wanzhou was later granted a C$10 million ($7.6 million) bail by a local court. But she is under surveillance 24 hours a day and must wear an electronic ankle tag.

In a statement, Justin Trudeau said: “Last night I asked for and accepted John McCallum’s resignation as Canada’s ambassador to China.”

The veteran diplomat, Justin Trudeau added, had served Canadians honorably and with distinction with many positions in cabinet.

The prime minister also thanked John McCallum and his family for their service.

John McCallum caused controversy on January 22 when he publicly argued that the US extradition request for Meng Wanzhou was seriously flawed.

The next day the ambassador issued a statement saying that he “misspoke” and regretted that his comments had created “confusion”.

However, on January 25, John McCallum was quoted as saying it would be “great for Canada” if the US dropped the request.

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John McCallum was appointed Canada’s ambassador to China in 2017, stepping down as the immigration minister.

Canadian media say the diplomat was eager to take over the posting because of his strong personal connection to China.

John McCallum’s wife is ethnically Chinese, and he had a large Chinese-Canadian population in his former constituency in Ontario.

He also served as Canada’s defense minister between 2002 and 2003.

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