PM Lee, PM Trudeau discuss Canada-China dispute, CPTPP in phone call

SINGAPORE: Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Thursday (Jan 17) received a phone call from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, during which Mr Trudeau briefed Mr Lee on the ongoing dispute between Canada and China.

“Prime Minister Lee noted the importance of all countries following due process of the law, and being seen to be doing so, when dealing with cases involving foreign nationals,” the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said in a statement on Friday.

“He expressed the hope that the matter would be resolved calmly and amicably, without further escalation.”

The PMO statement also said both prime ministers discussed cooperation between Singapore and Canada, following Mr Trudeau’s working visit to Singapore for the 33rd ASEAN Summit and Related Summits in November 2018.

Relations between Canada and China have been strained following the arrest of Huawei’s chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou by Canadian authorities last month, on a US extradition request.

China then detained two Canadian citizens –  a former diplomat and a business consultant – on suspicion of endangering national security.

On Monday, a Canadian man, Robert Lloyd Schellenberg, was sentenced to death by a Chinese court on drug trafficking charges, after his previous 15-year jail sentence was deemed too lenient.

READ: Chinese court sentences Canadian drug suspect to death

In a separate statement, Mr Trudeau’s office said he had also discussed the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) with Mr Lee.

“Both Canada and Singapore are among the first to ratify the agreement, deepening trade and investment ties and bringing economic benefits and good jobs to both countries,” said the statement. 

The trade pact, a new version of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, was negotiated and signed on Mar 8 last year by Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam, following the withdrawal of the United States.

READ: Singapore inks new TPP trade pact with 10 other countries: 5 things to know about the CPTPP

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