OTTAWA – Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed with his Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau to seek the rule of law in resolving international issues, including China’s arrest of two Canadian citizens.
Beijing has detained the pair since December on allegations of harming national security. Their detention followed Canada’s arrest of Meng Wanzhou — chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies Co. — at the request of the United States, which has accused her of helping the company evade U.S. sanctions on Iran.
During a meeting Sunday in the Canadian capital, Trudeau voiced his concern to Abe. The two agreed to request that China play a constructive role in the international community, Japanese officials said.
Japan is hosting the Group of 20 summit in Osaka in June, where Trudeau is likely to join other leaders — including Chinese President Xi Jinping — to discuss issues ranging from free trade for economic growth to empowering women and tackling marine plastic debris.
Huawei, a leader in next-generation 5G mobile communications networks, this year filed a lawsuit with a federal district court in Texas against the U.S. government.
The arrest of Meng, daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei, came as Washington was pressing allies, including Japan, to exclude the company from government contracts due to fears its products may facilitate spying and disrupt communications networks.
The two leaders also touted the benefits of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal that U.S. President Donald Trump walked away from and said the pact should serve as a model for future agreements.
The landmark 11-country deal, now formally known as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), is a revamped version of the TPP. The deal, which took force last December, does not include the United States, which pulled out of talks on the initial TPP in 2017.
Trudeau said exports of some beef products from Canada to Japan have increased nearly threefold under the CPTPP.
“(This deal) has benefited tremendously Canadian citizens, Japanese citizens and businesses and indeed people throughout the region,” he told a news conference after meeting with Abe.
“(That) stands in stark contrast with the United States withdrawal … continuing to move forward on freer more open trade, according to the rules we can all agree on, is something we need more in the world,” he said.
Trump, whose administration is working on a bilateral trade deal with Japan, said Friday after meeting Abe that an agreement could be reached next month. Both men, however, made clear they differed in some areas, with Trump citing Japanese tariffs on American agricultural products and Abe bringing up U.S. tariffs on Japanese autos.
Abe said the CPTPP “should be a model going forward,” describing it as a meaningful way “to disseminate a 21st century type of free and fair rules-based (trade).”
Abe told the news conference that Canada and Japan will work to expand the number of nations covered by the CPTPP.
On global trade, Abe said that “it is essential to reform (the World Trade Organization) to ensure it works to settle disputes.”
On Friday, Japan denounced a recent WTO ruling that supported a South Korean ban on imports of some Japanese fishery products in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster. Tokyo said the ruling was not based on scientific evidence. Other WTO members, Abe said, have also raised questions about the ruling.
Abe and Trudeau agreed to maintain U.N. sanctions against North Korea to achieve Pyongyang’s denuclearization, the Japanese officials said.
Trudeau expressed support for Abe’s efforts to address the issue of Japanese citizens abducted by North Korea in the 1970s and 1980s.