Trudeau was sidelined as Xi China got involved in a diplomatic maelstrom at the G20

After more than two years without leaving his country, Chinese President Xi Jinping missed no opportunity for face-to-face diplomacy as he joined other world leaders at the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia, this week.

Xi held a highly anticipated meeting with US President Joe Biden on Monday, and will meet Australian and Japanese leaders, as well as Indonesian President Joko Widodo.

However, it is not on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's list.

When asked by reporters on Sunday, the Prime Minister did not say whether he would meet Xi in Bali. But the timetable released by his office the following day did not include a summit with Xi, and neither Ottawa nor Beijing indicated that could happen.

“Canada is still very frozen,” said Margaret McCuaig-Johnston, a senior fellow at the University of Ottawa Graduate School of Public and International Affairs.

Relations had remained strained since the arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver and the subsequent imprisonment of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor in Beijing, he said, although Meng had been released from house arrest and two Canadians from jail.

“At the same time, with the emergence of the Indo-Pacific strategy, Prime Minister Trudeau is clearly on the side and not China,” added Ms. McCuaig-Johnston. "So a meeting with Xi will not be in line with the new direction indicated by Trudeau."

Last week, Foreign Minister MĂ©lanie Joly said her long-awaited strategy, to be announced in December, would characterize China as an increasingly disruptive global power – a reversal of the previous government's policy of trying to avoid confrontation with the world's second-largest economy. .

He added that Ottawa would speak out about China's brutal treatment of Uighurs and other Turkic minorities in the Xinjiang region, "where credible reports of human rights violations and crimes against humanity are well documented." Parliament – ​​although not the government – ​​declared the situation in Xinjiang a genocide in 2021, much to Beijing's displeasure.

Officials in Ottawa have expressed hope that the strategy will shed some light on Canada's approach to China, which has been criticized as disorganized and directionless, with cabinet officials sometimes appearing to be conflicted about how to handle Beijing.

“The China of 1970 is not the China of today,” Joly said in a speech last week, referring to a time when relations were friendlier during Trudeau's father's tenure as prime minister.

A tougher line by Ottawa is likely to respond favorably to Beijing. Chinese state media and government officials are often highly critical of Canada, with Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian accusing Joly of "ideological bias" after his remarks last week.

An editorial in the state-run Global Times said Canada's approach was "disappointing and regrettable."

"For quite a long time, Canada played a relatively mild role in international politics," the paper said. “The strategic position of distancing ourselves from geopolitics and supporting free trade and multilateralism can best reflect Canada's values ​​and protect its interests. Once detached, Canada will face the risk and pay the price.”

Guy Saint-Jacques, the former Canadian ambassador to China, said he would not be surprised if there was "informal noise" from Ottawa about a possible meeting between Xi and Trudeau.

But considering Ms. Joly and Ottawa order Chinese state-owned companies to disinvest in Canadian mineral companies, "Xi will not reward Trudeau with a meeting."

The best Canada can hope for is the possibility of an informal meeting between the foreign ministers of the two countries, he said, "which I take to be a good sign."

One of China's frequent criticisms of Canada is that it is too close to Washington's direction. But after the seemingly successful meeting between Mr Xi and Mr Biden on Monday, Ottawa may be in the same position as Canberra was, punished for following the US position even as Beijing continues to engage with the White House.

During Donald Trump's administration, then-Australian prime minister Scott Morrison was one of the most enthusiastic US allies in cracking down on Huawei and calling for an investigation into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Canberra soon learned that there was criticism Beijing was willing to tolerate from a global superpower that would not alienate a smaller country, hit Australia with tariffs and cut ties even as it continued trade negotiations with Washington.

The damage to the relationship has only recently been repaired, with current leader Anthony Albanese saying he is looking forward "to having constructive discussions with President Xi" at the G20 on Tuesday. The Australian Prime Minister had brief talks with Premier Li Keqiang over the weekend.

In their meetings this week, both Mr Xi and Mr Biden said nothing compares to a direct discussion when it comes to diplomacy. This article was written by EDUKASI CAMPUS. 

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