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Canadian Ambassador to China fired

Canadian ambassador to China John McCallum has been fired after comments on the Huawei case

Jan 29


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has fired Canada's ambassador to China after the envoy said it would be "great" if the US dropped its extradition request for a Chinese tech executive arrested in Canada.

Trudeau said he asked for and accepted John McCallum's resignation on Friday night. McCallum made the remark to reporters on Friday, a day after he issued a statement saying he misspoke about the case earlier in the week and regretted saying Meng Wanzhou has a strong case against extradition.

The arrest of the daughter of the founder of Huawei at Vancouver's airport on December 1 severely damaged relations between China and Canada.

The US wants her extradited to face charges that she committed fraud by misleading banks about Huawei's business dealings in Iran "Last night I asked for and accepted John McCallum's resignation as Canada's ambassador to China," Trudeau said in a statement.

Trudeau said Jim Nickel, McCallum's deputy in Beijing, would represent his government in China. He also thanked McCallum, a former minister in Trudeau's cabinet, for his 20 years of public service.

McCallum told Chinese media that the extradition of Meng to the United States "would not be a happy outcome."

Trudeau and Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland have stressed that Canada's government can't interfere politically in the case. Guy Saint-Jacques, a former Canadian ambassador to China, said he felt bad for McCallum but said it was the right thing to do.

"Of course, McCallum can obviously take refuge in arguing that what he said was largely true, but he can't escape the fact that it wasn't his job to say it. It does underline the hazards of sending a politician to do a diplomat's job."