08/22/2019 12:23 EDT

Canada-China Relations Experiencing ‘Gross Difficulties’: Chinese Embassy

Ottawa knows the "root cause" of tensions, the Chinese Embassy says.

OTTAWA — China’s embassy in Canada said on Thursday that bilateral ties were suffering “gross difficulties,” and demanded Ottawa free Huawei Technologies chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou.

Relations between the two countries have been icy since Meng was detained in Vancouver last December on a U.S. warrant. China has since charged two Canadians with spying and halted imports of canola seed and meat products from Canada.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his government had no intention of backing down in the dispute and would defend Canada’s interests. 

“We will always defend Chinese and China’s interests, too,” the embassy said in a statement. “China-Canada relations now suffer gross difficulties and the Canadian side knows very well the root cause.

Canada should release Ms. Meng Wanzhou immediately and ensure her safe return to China, and bring bilateral relations back onto the right track,” the statement continued.

Trudeau and Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland met U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Ottawa for talks on Thursday. Relations with China was scheduled to be one of the main topics for discussion.

Associated Press via CP
This Dec. 5, 2017, photo shows flags of Canada and China prior to a meeting between the leaders of the two countries in Beijing.