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Foreign Minister Joly Says She Was ‘Unequivocal’ With Chinese Counterpart on Interference Concerns

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Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly says she was “unequivocal” with her Chinese counterpart that Canada will not tolerate foreign interference amid recent reports on Beijing’s alleged election meddling.

“Canada will never tolerate any form of foreign interference in our democracy and internal affairs by China,” Joly said in a statement that was also posted on her Twitter account.

“We will never accept any breach of our territorial integrity and sovereignty; we will never accept any breach by Chinese diplomats of the Vienna Convention on Canada’s soil.”

Joy said she was “direct, firm and unequivocal,” with her Chinese counterpart Qin Gang when they held a meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit in New Delhi, India.

Joly also reiterated Canada’s firm position on China laid out in the Indo-Pacific Strategy, which labelled the communist regime as “an increasingly disruptive global power,” and pledges to join allies in confronting Beijing on a range of issues, from its disregard for international norms to undermining Canadian and its allies’ national security interests.

During the meeting with Joly, Qin “refuted the fallacy” that the Chinese embassy and consulates in Canada tried to interfere in Canadian elections, describing the allegations as “complete nonsense,” said a Chinese-language statement released by the Chinese Foreign Affairs Ministry.

The statement further claimed that the communist regime “never interferes” in other countries’ internal affairs, while urging Ottawa to take actions ensuring the unhampered performance of China’s diplomatic missions in Canada and preventing “rumours and hype from interfering with bilateral relations.”

Despite their clash, the ministers agreed to keep lines of communication open, Joly’s statement said.

Interference

China’s claims came counter to allegations stemming from a Globe and Mail report of top-secret documents leaked from the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), illustrating Beijing’s strategy to meddle with Canada’s 2019 and 2021 elections with the support of its consulates and politically active individuals and associations in the country.

The report noted that Beijing’s goals include the return of a Liberal minority and the defeat of Conservative candidates deemed as unfriendly to Beijing. The leaked CSIS documents also reveal a former Chinese consul-general in Vancouver, Tong Xiaoling, touting her role in defeating two Conservative MPs, the Globe reported.

The series of reports that followed have prompted the Procedure and House Affairs Committee to pass a motion calling on the federal government to launch a public inquiry into China’s interference that includes but is not limited to the reported election meddling.

Since last November, the committee has been studying Beijing’s interference in Canada’s 2019 federal election, after a report by Global News revealed that national security officials had briefed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and cabinet members on the regime’s covert funding to at least 11 candidates.





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