Brian Mulroney has called for Canada to reconsider its relationship with China and gave credit to Justin Trudeau for not releasing Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in exchange for the two Canadians, Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig.
Mulroney, former Progressive Conservative prime minister, said that Canada should deny Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd.'s material from being implemented in Canada's next-generation 5G networks if the company showed any sign that it may leak intelligence related to Canada's Five Eyes alliance, according to the Globe and Mail.
The initial hope that Canada's relationship to China would only grow as China's economy and overall wealth grew is no longer the case.
“You can see it everywhere from the South China Sea to our two citizens who were bundled off to jail for no reason at all except to protest an extradition decision in Vancouver,” Mulroney said. “There has to be an immediate and urgent rethink of our entire relationship.”
The South China Sea—a major shipping lane—has been militarized by Beijing.
Mulroney suggested that Trudeau should drum up a panel of experts in an effort to adapt Canada's current relationship with China, saying to "get it done. Come up with a rethink of what our relationship should be with China. The world has changed."
David Mulroney, former Canadian ambassador to China, said that Canada's future strategy with China should slam the door on "such fictions as the idea that China is inherently peaceful and has no territorial ambitions, that it abides by a policy of non-interference in other countries, that trade is a favour it bestows on friendly nations, and that access to its leaders is an end and reward in itself.”
Mulroney went on to disagree with the view held by 19 visible Canadians who signed a letter last week that Meng should be released in the hope that China keeps its end of the bargain by releasing Canadians Kovrig and Spavor.
“We’re a civilized important nation in the world. We have an extradition treaty with the United States of America. We were asked to honour it, and we did, and that’s what we should have done,” Mulroney noted. “It also means the Americans and others should be helping us, working with us to get our citizens back.”
Concerning Huawei, the US has warned that they will withhold intelligence from any members of the Five Eyes alliance that move forward in building 5G networks using materials from the Shenzhen-based company.
Mulroney noted that Trudeau should be not risk losing out on sensitive intel from the rest of the alliance, which includes the US, Australia, Britain, and New Zealand.
“We have to preserve our relationship with the Five Eyes and whatever that takes, that is what we do,” Mulroney said, noting that he believes the US is not bluffing when it comes to withholding sensitive information from members who build with Huawei gear.
Australia and the US have denied Huawei tech from 5G networks. Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain has asked officials to come up with a plan to have Huawei's tech involvement brought to zero by 2023. Japan and Taiwan are also among those that do not use Huawei's material in building 5G networks. And finally, the Indian government is currently weighing its options, considering cutting off Huawei gear as well.