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Sajjan targets Chinese claims in South China Sea, battles Tories over Beijing ties

·1 min read

OTTAWA — Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan has criticized China's military expansion into the South China Sea even as he faced questions about the Liberal government's ties to Beijing.

Sajjan was appearing before the House of Commons' special committee on China this evening, where he spoke out against Chinese claims to what much of the world considers international waters.

Those comments came two weeks after a Canadian warship, HMCS Calgary, sailed through the South China Sea, where it was shadowed by Chinese forces.

Yet Sajjan was more circumspect when Conservative members asked about a report the government had threatened to cut the funding of a major defence conference held each year in Halifax.

Politico has reported that the issue revolves around the Halifax International Security Forum's proposal last year to give an award to the president of Taiwan, which China considers a rogue province.

Sajjan says the Liberal government is continuing to fund the Halifax International Security Forum, and that the organization itself is responsible for choosing who to award.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 12, 2021.

The Canadian Press