Biden will restore multilateralism – but don’t expect a return to “an idealized past”: Trudeau

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said today that the new administration of US President-elect Joe Biden will move forward on important international challenges such as climate change and global stability – but warns that a return to pre-Donald politics Trump in the United States is unlikely to be performing soon.“Leadership is obviously important, but it’s going to face a lot of national pressures,” Trudeau said at a virtual meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum. “Anyone who expects a sudden, massive, and rapid change in the way things were in an idealized past, I don’t think anyone can meet those expectations.

“There is going to be a lot of work for all of us to try to get the world moving in the right direction. And yes, I’m sure President-elect Biden will be a powerful ally in this area. But we can’t expect to sit there and just say, ‘OK, the bigger countries are going to do the heavy lifting. “”

Trudeau, Chinese President Xi Jinping and other leaders from the Pacific region will participate in virtual trade talks on Friday.

The prime minister said Biden had said all right about multilateralism, the rules-based international order and the fight to slow climate change, but Canada is going to have to step in and do its part.

Trudeau was asked today if he regrets the arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver, British Columbia, on a US extradition request in December 2018.

Shortly after this arrest, Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor were detained in China, where they are still being held and face charges of espionage for Canada.

“Do I regret that Canada followed its laws? Do I regret that Canada honored a long-standing extradition treaty with our closest ally? Absolutely not, ”Trudeau said. “Canada is a country of the rule of law and compliance with these laws cannot be done only when it is practical or easy.

“If you are a country of the rule of law, if you are a country of values, you must commit to them. And that’s exactly what we are doing. “

Putting pressure on China

Trudeau admitted the situation is difficult, but said the key to dealing with China was to work in concert with other countries, including the United States led by Biden, to pressure Beijing to do so. respects the rule of law.

“In the face of the pressure and increasingly coercive movements from one of the great world powers, I think this really shows how much we need to work together as allies, as neighbors, as friends, as a country, ”he said.

“Very few countries could stand up against a superpower, a great power on their own. But by working together in alignment, we can ensure that there is an acknowledgment that the path China chooses to take right now is unlikely to be as effective, even for them, as they think it is. ”

Observers will closely follow the APEC summit and the G20 leaders’ meeting hosted by Saudi Arabia this weekend, for signs of a new conflict between China and the United States. Outgoing US President Donald Trump is expected to attend virtual APEC meetings – which may be among his last appearances as president.

Both summits are expected to focus on the COVID-19 pandemic, in particular its economic impacts and the actions the international community should take to mitigate them now and recover thereafter.

Trudeau hinted during his speech that he planned to call for more action on climate change while pushing back against protectionism.

The G20 summit also threatens to be a thorny affair due to Saudi Arabia’s appalling human rights record and the possible involvement of Trump, Xi and autocratic leaders in Russia and Turkey. .

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