Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says there are “significant reflections” happening following suggestions that Canadian MPs are weighing a stop in Taiwan amid plans for a broader Asian trade trip this fall.
During a media availability on Friday, Trudeau was asked about the comments made by Liberal MP Judy Sgro earlier in the week suggesting that some MPs are planning a trip to the self-governing island.
He was also asked whether he would support such a trip in light of the aggressive response by China to a visit to Taiwan earlier this month by U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
“I think it’s important to understand that parliamentarians have a really important role to do. … There are significant reflections going on right now. Canada has a longstanding position around China and Taiwan that we will ensure to respect,” Trudeau said, calling Chinese belligerence “troubling.”
“We will ensure that parliamentarians making the decision to travel or not will be done with all the reflections of the consequences and impacts of it.”
Sgro had said members of the House of Commons Standing Committee on International Trade are “anxious to go and to visit Taiwan” in a trip being planned for October.
Members of that committee, though, told Global News no trip has been confirmed and conversations about a potential trip earlier this year were in the context of a visit focused on Singapore and trading ties in neighbouring Asian countries.
It also is not yet clear whether such a plan would be approved when the House of Commons returns.
Tensions are expected to be high and the Conservatives will have a new leader, set to be elected on Sept. 10, who will be under pressure to make a mark in the parliamentary agenda.
While committees are independent in choosing their areas of study, any travel as part of their studies needs to be voted on by both a separate parliamentary liaison committee, approved by the whips of each official party, and voted on in the House of Commons to get authorization.
And when it comes to approval by the party whips, that needs to be unanimous.
Tensions between China and Western countries remain fraught and have worsened over recent weeks following Pelosi’s visit.
That trip, part of a trade delegation to Malaysia, prompted an aggressive Chinese response including ballistic missile launches and staged blockades of the island, which Beijing claims as its own.
Taiwan is democratically self-governed and rejects the Chinese claims.
Pelosi has vowed China will not be allowed to “isolate” Taiwan.
Source: Global News