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Trudeau taps career diplomat Jennifer May to be Canada’s new ambassador to China

OTTAWA — A career diplomat with 30 years of experience at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was appointed as Canada’s ambassador to China by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday.

OTTAWA — A career diplomat with 30 years of experience at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was appointed as Canada’s ambassador to China by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday.

Jennifer May, who spent the most recent three years as Ambassador to Brazil, will fill a position in China that has been vacant for nine months.

“A dedicated civil servant, May’s years of diverse experience in international missions and deep understanding of Asia will help her manage this important bilateral relationship and advance Canada’s interests in China,” Trudeau said in a statement. It will help,” he said.

Mei joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1990, studied Mandarin Chinese, and served four years as a mid-level diplomat in 2000 before serving in Hong Kong and Thailand. She also has overseas service in Germany and Austria.

Her appointment comes at a time when Canada is trying to shave the ice off its frosty relationship with China after the release of Michael Speiber and Michael Kovrig a year ago.

But the government has clarified that her order also includes “promoting Canada’s efforts” to uphold “democratic values, human rights and the rule of law.”

Global Affairs Canada has what it refers to in its current sectoral plans, an “evolving China policy framework” set within the broader development of its Indo-Pacific-wide strategy. It is scheduled to be

The division’s plan states that Canada will use the framework to promote trade interests, but that it will “challenge the Chinese government when values ​​and interests differ, and cooperate when interests align”. is.

“Canada will continue to speak out against China’s repression of Uyghurs and Tibetans and all religious minorities in China,” reads a plan released earlier this year.

The last two ambassadors to China were both considered high-level political appointees. First was former cabinet secretary John McCallum, then corporate executive Dominic Burton. Burton is given a delicate but important file by Trudeau to free Spiber and Kovrig.

Burton left the post last December, three months after being released. Spavor, a business consultant who worked in China, and Kovrig, a former diplomat who worked in China for the International Crisis Group, were arrested in December 2019.

Canada considers their arrest to be political retaliation, as Canadian authorities arrested Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou at the request of the United States.

The US has accused her and Huawei of violating US sanctions against Iran. Kovrig and Speiber were arrested days after Meng was detained in Vancouver. The two men were released as part of a deal when the United States agreed to allow Meng to return to China.

The dispute has seriously damaged relations between Canada and China.

This report by the Canadian Press was first published on September 23, 2022.

Mia Rabson, Canadian Press

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