China does not want a continuation of the “current difficult situation” in relations with Canada.
China’s foreign minister told his Canadian counterpart during a phone call, the Chinese foreign ministry said in a statement late.
Relations between the two countries were strained for most of 2023, underscored by accusations from Canada that China was meddling in its elections. China repeatedly denied any interference.
“The fundamental reason why China-Canada relations have fallen into a low point in recent years is that there has been a serious deviation in Canada’s perception of China,” Wang Yi said in the call with Melanie Joly, Canada’s foreign minister.
China also expelled a Canadian diplomat in a tit-for-tat move after Ottawa told a Toronto-based Chinese diplomat to leave, escalating the tense relationship.
China’s foreign ministry has said a Canadian military plane intercepted in October violated China’s sovereignty and national security, prompting it to lodge a complaint with Canada.
“China is open to contacts and talks,” Wang said during the call, according to the statement. “The two sides should respect each other, engage in dialogue on an equal footing, enhance trust and dispel doubts.”
Wang also told Joly that China hopes the Canadian side “will interpret China’s domestic and foreign policies objectively, rationally and correctly.”