Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrived in Washington D.C. this evening ahead of meetings with U.S. President Donald Trump scheduled for Thursday.
The two leaders are expected to discuss respective ratifications of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, China’s belligerence and the ongoing crisis in Venezuela.
Trudeau was accompanied on the trip by Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, Finance Minister Bill Morneau and Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan.
Following talks with Trump, Trudeau will head to Capitol Hill to meet with Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi and then with U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
The visit which was initiated by invitation from Trump could be a win for either leader with respect to bolstering the new free trade deal’s ratification by U.S. Congress and Canadian Parliament. But international diplomacy issues involving the two countries remain.
On Venezuela, both Canada and the United States have backed interim-president Juan Guaido, but diverge on Cuba’s purported involvement in efforts to stabilize the South American state. Trudeau has opted for engagement with Cuba, versus American isolationism that’s become more hardline under Trump.
The talks are also expected to include potential help that Trump could provide Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor being held in China for alleged espionage.
Their detainment is perceived as retaliation for Canada’s arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou last December. Meng is currently awaiting extradition to the United States for charges related to Huawei’s violation of U.S. sanctions on Iran.
Trump has already indicated that the two Canadians’ plight will be part of his talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the upcoming G20 in Japan, but few details beyond that are known.
Huawei’s 5G broadband technology is another matter where the U.S. and Canada are at odds.
Last November the United States asked its ‘Five Eyes’ allies to ban it from their domestic telecommunication networks. Australia and New Zealand have since agreed and the UK has halted use of Huawei equipment on its domestic telecom networks while Canada continues to study the matter.
U.S. Ambassador to Canada Kelly Craft and her Canadian counterpart David McNaughton greeted Trudeau as he disembarked at Andrews Airforce Base in Maryland Wednesday night.