Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Wednesday June 24, 2020
The United States has spoken out forcefully against China’s prosecution of two Canadian men for spying.
In a statement Monday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Washington was “extremely concerned” about the decision to file espionage charges against Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, who have been detained in China since 2018.
“These charges are politically motivated and completely groundless,” Pompeo said. “The United States stands with Canada in calling on Beijing for the immediate release of the two men and rejects the use of these unjustified detentions to coerce Canada.”
Kovrig and Spavor were detained in the weeks following the arrest in Vancouver of Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of the Chinese technology company Huawei in late 2018, on charges filed in the US. (CNN)
Meanwhile, in a book released this week by former White House official, John Bolton, U.S. President Donald Trump does not like Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and once personally instructed his staff to attack him in television interviews.
In his soon-to-be-released memoir, The Room Where It Happened, Bolton recounts the leaders’ notorious dustup at the G7 conference in Quebec in 2018.
The tension at the meeting was widely known at the time, given Trump’s move to impose broad tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, including products from allied countries like Canada.
Bolton, the former White House national security adviser, said the president had negative feelings about the leaders of Canada and France. In his book, he describes the unusual interpersonal dynamics of their meetings.
“Trump didn’t really like either Macron or Trudeau,” Bolton writes. “But he tolerated them, mockingly crossing swords with them in meetings, kidding on the straight.
“I assume they understood what he was doing, and they responded in kind, playing along because it suited their interests not to be in a permanent tiff with the U.S. president.”
Bolton offers an insider account of one well-known flareup at the end of that G7 meeting.
The leaders were struggling to hammer out a closing communiqué at the conference.
At one point, Bolton writes, Trump’s then-chief of staff John Kelly called for Bolton to join the prolonged haggling session — where the problems in the meeting were quickly made clear.
Bolton writes the chief of staff walked out as he was walking in, saying, “This is a disaster.”
Bolton quickly concurred — he says Trump seemed tired, yet Macron and Trudeau were aggressively pushing the president to accept policy provisions he disagreed with.
He says he couldn’t tell if Trump was playing hardball with them. But he did conclude the president had not prepared for the G7 meeting and didn’t understand the issues. (CBC)