Justin Trudeau axes Canadian ambassador to China over Huawei exec remarks

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Saturday that he both requested and accepted John McCallum’s resignation after the envoy made multiple remarks about the extradition of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou.

Trudeau said he asked for McCallum’s resignation Friday night after the ambassador to China told The Toronto Star earlier that day that it would be “great” if the U.S. dropped its extradition request for Wanzhou.

Wanzhou was detained at the request of the U.S. last month in Canada on the suspicion that she violated sanctions against Iran. She is also suspected of misleading bank investors with regard to a second company that was illicitly selling to Iran.


McCallum’s remark to The Star came just one day after he issued a statement regretting a comment he made earlier in the week, in which he said that Wanzhou had a strong case against extradition.

He told Chinese media in the Toronto area that the extradition of Wanzhou to the United States "would not be a happy outcome." He also suggested the case was politically motivated.

But on Thursday he walked back the remarks and said he "misspoke."

"Last night I asked for and accepted John McCallum's resignation as Canada's ambassador to China," Trudeau said in a statement Saturday. He also thanked McCallum for his 20 years of public service.

Jim Nickel, the deputy head of mission at the Canadian Embassy in Beijing, is set to step in and represent his government in China.


In retaliation of her arrest, China has detained two Canadians and sentenced one man, previously given a 15-year prison term on drug charges, to death.

Wanzhou is out on bail in her multimillion-dollar mansion in Vancouver, monitored by an ankle bracelet and free to leave her home between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m.

Fox News' Hollie McKay and The Associated Press contribute to this report.