CARBIS BAY, CORNWALL, England—Foreign policy is on the agenda for a meeting between international leaders gathered on a beachside village in England to strategize on how best to tackle some of their most pressing challenges, including China.
Leaders at the G7 summit, hosted by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, are set to discuss international affairs when they meet Saturday for a closed−door session.
How to deal with China and its more aggressive stance is one of the challenges faced by these countries, including Canada, which has strong economic ties to the state.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau faced a call from the opposition Conservatives ahead of the summit for him to press his democratic peers to take a collective stand against China and push for the relocation of the 2022 Beijing Olympics.
The Associated Press is reporting that United States President Joe Biden is set to make such a move by asking the G7 leaders to call out China for its use of forced labour practices against ethnic minorities, including Uyghur Muslims.
It cites two senior administration officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity to reporters, saying the president wants to see the denunciation inked into a communique signed between all the countries when the summit concludes on Sunday.
It’s unclear what exactly Trudeau will have to say to his allies about China.
Members of own his Liberal party and opposition MPs voted back in February in favour of a Conservative motion that labelled China’s treatment of Muslim Uyghurs in its Xinjiang province as a genocide.
Trudeau and most of his cabinet abstained from the vote.
Stopping short of calling it a genocide, the prime minister has characterized China’s treatment of Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities as amounting to “systematic human rights abuses.”
Canada also joined the United Kingdom, U.S., and European Union in imposing sanctions on Chinese officials over these actions, which it said was supported by “mounting evidence.”
Canada’s relationship with China has been under a microscope since it detained Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, two Canadian citizens, following the 2018 arrest of a Huawei Technologies executive for extradition to the United States on fraud charges
Trudeau has said officials are working hard to get both men home and views their detention as a retaliatory pressure tactic from the state over Meng Wanzhou’s arrest.
Canada is also under pressure to decide how much longer to keep the land border with the U.S. closed as more of its population is getting vaccinated against COVID-19.
Speaking on condition of anonymity to reporters on the trip, a federal official said Trudeau and Biden discussed the border when they talked on the side of another session with G7 leaders.
The two leaders talked about the steps both countries are considering to “cautiously” and “gradually” make changes to the border closure, the official said.
The Canada-U. S. border has been closed to non-essential travel for more than a year after an agreement was struck between both countries in hopes to keep COVID-19 from spreading.
Trudeau and Biden also talked about China, and the work happening to get Kovrig and Spavor released, according to the official.
The Canadian prime minister started the second day of his summit bumping elbows and smiling for the cameras with French President Emanuel Macron ahead of the pair’s bilateral meeting.
A readout from Trudeau’s office said they agreed to collaborate on a list of initiatives, from developing cultural exchanges and making new commitments to promoting gender equality, particularly in the economic recovery from COVID-19.
He was also set to meet Saturday with Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Next to Merkel, who doesn’t plan to seek re-election after her current term in office expires, Trudeau is the second-longest serving leader out of his G7 colleagues.
With files from The Associated Press
By Stephanie Taylor