Minister of Tourism, Official Languages and La Francophonie Melanie Joly rises during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on November 26, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Tourism minister postpones trip to China amid tensions between two countries

Tourism Minister Melanie Joly’s office says Canada and China have mutually agreed to postpone a closing ceremony next week.

Tourism Minister Melanie Joly won’t go to China to mark the end of a special year of tourism exchanges, while the two countries argue over Canada’s arrest of a Chinese business executive.

“Canada and China mutually agreed to postpone the Canada-China Year of Tourism Closing Ceremony and Minister Joly’s planned travel to China. Both governments agreed this would allow us to better achieve our shared objectives,” Joly’s spokesman Jeremy Ghio said Friday.

What those shared objectives are, he didn’t specify.

“We look forward to meeting again to continue building people-to people ties and strengthening the tourism relationship between Canada and China — a relationship that creates good jobs for middle class families and opportunities for people in both countries,” Ghio said.

Canada and China are battling over the detentions of two Canadians in China as well as the recent arrest of a top executive at Chinese tech giant Huawei in Canada. Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Vancouver at the request of U.S. authorities and was released this week on $10 million bail. The Americans accuse Meng of committing bank fraud in connection with an alleged attempt to circumvent American sanctions against Iran.

Read more: ‘Naive approach’ to China at fault in Meng mess: Scheer

Read more: B.C. suspends Chinese portion of Asian forestry trade mission due to Huawei arrest

The Chinese embassy in Ottawa loudly protested Meng’s arrest as a violation of her human rights.

Canadian entrepreneur Michael Spavor and former diplomat Michael Kovrig were detained this week in Beijing on suspicion of “engaging in activities that endanger the national security” of China.

The Canadian Press

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