General Jonathan Vance’s move alarmed Canada’s Global Affairs department which worried China would interpret the cancellation as retaliation for the arbitrary arrest of two Canadians.
Vance had allegedly cancelled the exercises after the US urged it to do so, according to the paper.
“Should Canada make any significant reductions in its military engagement with China, China will likely read this as a retaliatory move related to the Meng Wanzhou case,” a February, 2019, memo to Ian Shugart, then deputy minister of Foreign Affairs, outlining the case for a letter he would be sending to Jody Thomas, deputy minister of the Department of National Defence, The Globe reported.
A pair of Canadians have been held for almost two years amid a dispute over the arrest of an executive of Chinese technology giant Huawei.
The pair have been confined since December 2018, just days after Canada detained Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou, who is also the daughter of the company’s founder.
No information has been released about where the Canadians are being detained or under what conditions.
Canada accuses China of arbitrarily arresting the pair in order to pressure it into releasing Meng, who lives under a form of house arrest in Vancouver while she challenges a US extradition order to face fraud charges related to trade sanctions on Iran.—With PTI