Trudeau says China not respecting diplomatic immunity

In this file image made from a video taken on March 28, 2018, Michael Kovrig, an adviser with the International Crisis Group, a Brussels-based non-governmental organization, speaks during an interview in Hong Kong. (AP)
Updated 12 January 2019
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Trudeau says China not respecting diplomatic immunity

  • Trudeau called US President Donald Trump about it and the White House called the arrests of the Canadians “unlawful”

TORONTO: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday that Chinese officials are not respecting the diplomatic immunity of one of the Canadians detained in China last month as he ramped up efforts to get them released.
China arrested former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig and entrepreneur Michael Spavor on vague national security allegations.
The arrests came after a top Chinese executive was arrested in Canada on Dec. 1 at the request of Washington, which wants Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou extradited to face charges that she misled banks about the company’s business dealings in Iran. She is out on bail in Canada and awaiting a bail extradition proceeding next month.
Kovrig is an analyst on northeast Asia for the International Crisis Group think tank who took a leave of absence from the Canadian government.
Canadian authorities haven’t previously said he was protected by diplomatic immunity. But Trudeau asserted that Friday.
“It is unfortunate that China has arbitrarily and unfairly detained two Canadian citizens, and indeed in one of the cases is not respecting the principles of diplomatic immunity,” Trudeau said.
He did not elaborate on why Kovrig is entitled to it.
But the prime minister reiterated that Canada was operating under the rule of law. He noted that Meng was arrested because of an extradition request and she is out on bail and living in her Canadian home. He said all countries need to respect the rule of law.
China’s ambassador to Canada accused the country this week of “white supremacy” in calling for the release of the two Canadians detained in China last month, while describing the detentions as an “act of self-defense.”
Canada has embarked on a campaign with allies to win the release of the detained Canadians. The United States, United Kingdom, European Union and Australia have issued statements in support.
Trudeau called US President Donald Trump about it and the White House called the arrests of the Canadians “unlawful.”
On Friday, Poland arrested a Huawei director and one of its own former cybersecurity experts and charged them with spying for China.
The development comes as the US is exerting pressure on its allies not to use Huawei, the world’s biggest maker of telecommunications network equipment, over data security concerns.


US urges coalitions against Iran’s ‘malign meddling’

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the US is committed to helping the Middle East be secure and stable. (AFP)
Updated 23 January 2019
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US urges coalitions against Iran’s ‘malign meddling’

  • Iran is threat to regional stability, Pompeo tells WEF
  • Pompeo also expressed optimism about an end to the conflict in Yemen

DAVOS: The US wants to build more coalitions in the Middle East to counter the “very real” threat of Iran’s malign meddling in the region, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told the World Economic Forum in Davos on Tuesday.

Speaking via video link, Pompeo said the US was committed to a “secure and stable” Middle East and had assembled a “global coalition of nations to confront Iran and support the aspirations of the Iranian people.”

Pompeo said: “America is committed to helping the Middle East be secure and stable. We are a force for good in the region, and we have been for an awfully long time.”

He said the biggest threat to regional stability was Iran, especially in crisis zones such as Yemen, Syria and Iraq, and in its support for Hezbollah in Lebanon.

“Those are places where Iran is truly the malign actor, and that is why we are so happy with the coalition we have built,” he said.

“It is so central to creating the stability the people of the Middle East so richly deserve.

“There are political and diplomatic solutions to all of these problems, and we need all our diplomats, from all across the region, working to solve them.”

Pompeo also expressed optimism about an end to the conflict in Yemen, where a Saudi-led military coalition is supporting the legitimate government against Iran-backed Houthi militias.

 “I am very hopeful we can make progress there,” he said. “We made a big step forward with the agreement surrounding the port of Hodeidah; we got real commitment from all the parties. 

“It was most unfortunate that the Houthis made a major break on Jan. 10 to that cease-fire by using an Iranian-designed instrument of war to kill people after those agreements were reached back in December.

“I know that the Gulf states are committed to achieving that outcome; we are committed here in the United States.”

Pompeo also spoke briefly about peace between Israel and Palestine, and said talks would not be “driven by the US” but by the Israelis and Palestinians themselves.

Globally, Pompeo praised a wave of “disruption” in world politics, including the election of Donald Trump, the UK vote to leave the European Union and elections in France and Malaysia.

He renewed Trump’s criticism of international institutions and the US president’s calls for “strong borders” to protect national sovereignty. “New winds are blowing across the world,” he said. “I’d argue that this disruption is a positive development.”

Pompeo acknowledged that Trump’s criticism of international institutions had ruffled feathers. “Sometimes leadership and asking hard questions drives others to be a little concerned. Perhaps they’re not quite ready to stare these problems in the face. But we are — President Trump is.”