OTTAWA, Canada: Canada has appointed Jennifer May as its first female ambassador to China, taking over a role that has been vacant since December 2021 amidst diplomatic tensions between the two countries.
In a statement, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said May is a veteran diplomat with 30 years of experience, including recently serving as Canada's ambassador to Brazil.
"Ms. May will lead Canada's important work in standing up for democratic values, human rights, and the rule of law. Her work will be key to advancing Canadian priorities in the Canada-China relationship," Trudeau said.
During a diplomats meeting in New York this week, Foreign Minister Melanie Joly stressed that she would "soon" announce a new Indo-Pacific strategy aimed at engaging with China on trade and climate change, and confronting it on human rights issues.
Beijing has recently condemned a planned trip by Canadian lawmakers to Taiwan, and the sailing of a Canadian frigate through the Taiwan Strait, though tensions between the two countries had been intensifying for some time.
Due to national security concerns, Ottawa banned the use of 5G gear from China's Huawei this past May.
After Canada detained Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in 2018, Beijing arrested two Canadians on spying charges.
Trudeau delayed a decision related to Huawei in 2019 because he was reluctant to move until the fate of Canadians held on espionage charges in China became clear.