Chinese envoy lauds virus co-operation with Canada, amid chill in relationship


China's envoy to Ottawa is offering glowing praise for Canada's help in combatting the outbreak of the novel coronavirus and is suggesting that might be useful in repairing the diplomatic rift between their countries.

Ambassador Cong Peiwu tells The Canadian Press that anything Canada can do in the next few weeks will be appreciated, as the two countries try to address their problems and get their relationship back on track.

Cong was referring to the diplomatic downturn that followed the arrests of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou by Canada, and China's imprisonment of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor.

The RCMP arrested Meng on a U.S. extradition warrant in December 2018 and the two Canadian men were arrested for violating China's national security nine days later.

Cong praised the co-operation between Canada and China on battling the outbreak and says his country's top priority has been ensuring the safety of Chinese people and all foreign nationals, including Canada's.

Cong says he appreciates Canada's support against anti-Chinese sentiments about the outbreak, including a statement by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau denouncing discrimination based on fear.